Financial burden ends Olympic hopes of Ballina skater
A LONG qualification process and ongoing financial pressure has seen Ballina skateboarder Jakob Robinson put his Olympic dreams on hold.
The 22-year-old was part of qualifying events last year at America, China and Brazil.
There was more scheduled through to May before they were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Robinson had already decided to pull out from further overseas events, ending his chances of competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“It was expensive and that was starting to be a problem where I couldn’t make it to all of the events,” Robinson said.
“I got to Brazil last year and that was nearly $3000 just for flights. It’s just too hard when they don’t provide financial support.
“It was disappointing but I’ve been able to go down a different avenue and focus more on the creative side of the sport with video and photography.
“I only recently got back from a trip to New Zealand and I had more things planned before the shutdown.”
Skateboarding will make its debut at the Olympics next year with the top 20 qualifying and a maximum of three from each country.
Robinson was selected by the Australian Skateboarding Federation to take part in the Olympic
qualifiers after coming 27th at the World Championships in 2018.
He feels bad for the skaters and athletes in other sports and has not ruled out an eventual return after Tokyo in hopes of eventually reaching the Olympics.
“Most athletes are probably pulling their hair out at the moment and would be frustrated not being able to compete,” Robinson said.
“It’s sad, a lot of the guys I was skating with were well in contention.
“It’s hard to think too far down the track but who knows, it could be possible for me to get there in the future.
“I’ll keep my eye on how they go at the Olympics and what sort of momentum we get out of it.
“Hopefully it leads to more funding and the sport might look completely different in 10 years, depending how well it’s received.
“I’d love to represent the region ‒ Ballina has been home for a lot of talent over the years.”