OiStu Open: Olympic Qualifier

The Oistu Open was the first Olympic Qualification contest of season 2. It is a level 5 contest that has been sanctioned by world skate meaning that the results from the contest count towards our World Skate ranking.

Brandon Valjalo Skateboarding Olympics

The Oistu open was held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The same thing applied as all the other Olympic qualifiers in which there were 120 athletes from all around the world to compete. The top 3 skateboarders from their respective countries were sent to represent their country by the national federation. I was fortunate to be sent up as one of South Africas representatives on the international stage. 

Brandon Valjalo Skateboarding Olympics

The level of skateboarding was the best in the world having some of skateboardings biggest names in the mix, including Nyjah Huston (USA), Luan Oliveira (BRA), Chris Joslin (USA) and Yuto Horigome (JPN). The format in the qualifiers consisted of a 3 minute jam where 5 skaters were unleashed onto the course at a time. They used this format for the judges to try get through all of the skateboarders. The top 20 skateboarders qualified through to the semi finals in which they were split up into 4 different heats. The semi finals and finals then consisted of the Streetleague format. ( two 45 second runs and 5 best trick attempts with your best 4 scores out of 10 count)

Brandon Valjalo Skateboarding Olympics

The weather conditions weren't promising as it consisted of rain throughout the entire week. We constantly had to wait for the rain to stop and for the park to dry up before the contest could continue. The first few heats of skateboarders managed to skate their qualifiers heat. However, the rest of us had to continuously wait for the weather to clear up. The rain eventually decided to stop and the maintenance team dried up the park extremely fast and by the time we could continue with the next few heats of skaters, It was already midnight. I was in one of the middle heats that was set to skate around 1am... This wasn't going to be ideal therefore we took a group decision to talk to the Head of World Skate and ask if we could skate the following day as we were all so tired from being at the skatepark from 10am the morning before. We were granted approval of our request, knowing that we risked the possibility of the event being rained out if we couldn't finish the contest by the end of the weekend.

Brandon Valjalo Skateboarding Olympics

The following morning the weather held out and we were able to skate our jam. Within that minute jam I planned 3 different 45 second runs in which I landed 2 of my runs flawless and then unfortunately fell on my final trick of my last 45 second run. I knew that I still had time left over to go and do a final trick that would surprise the judges. I ran up to the big section and attempted to kick flip front blunt the handrail. I stuck into the front blunt and thought I was about to perfectly execute the trick that would've secured my spot in the semi finals. on the landing I was slightly off balance causing me to slip out of the trick. I tried my best to get back up and get one more attempt however my time ended.

After completing my jam I was in 12th position. I thought I had done enough to qualify in the top 20 but there were still a few more heats to come after me. There were about 40 skaters left to skate qualifiers which meant there were still 6 heats left of 5 skateboarders. I must say I was extremely worried because my hopes of qualifying through to the semi finals now depended on the performance of other skateboarders. With names such as Felipe Gustavo, Louie Lopez, Ryan Decenzo and Jagger Eaton left to skate it was going to be a close call to make it through. Within the last 40 skateboarders, 25 of them scored higher than me according to the judges meaning I ended off in 37th place and missed the semi finals cut of 20 skateboarders.


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