The South African National Championships 2021 was hosted in Cape Town from the 1st - 3rd of May at The Shred Skatepark in Paarden Eiland.
All the best Skateboarders from across the country came to compete in the official National Championships, including males and females from both the park and street division. This was the last National Championships to be held before announcing the South African Team that would participate at the World Championships in Rome, Italy. Nonetheless, The World Championships is the last event that will be held before World Skate and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announce who has qualified for the Olympic Games later this year.
After the 2020 National Championships in December, I was still the highest ranked African Skateboarder on the World Skate Ranking even though I came 2nd place to Khule Ngubane. The 2020 National Championship was the first contest that we had skated since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world and it was a great experience getting back into the contest frame of mind after an entire year off of competing.
The 2021 qualification stage kicked off and the Semi Finals cut was down to 20 skateboarders. The qualifiers consisted of 2 runs in which your best run counts. After going through this stage I qualified through to the semi finals in 1st place which gave me the advantage of going last in the semi finals meaning I was able to strategise according to the level of the contest. In the semi finals, the format changed to the Streetleague format of 2 runs, 5 best tricks and your 4 highest scores count.
The Semi finals went underway and I landed 2 flawless runs and had room to play around with my 5 best trick attempts.Only 6 Skateboarders would make the finals cut which meant you had to be flawless to make the cut. I managed to qualify into the finals in 1st place which meant I still had the advantage of going last to be able to see the level of skateboarding that would get underway in the finals.
The 6 skateboarders that qualified for the finals included: Khule Ngubane (Durban), Karl Van Antwerp (CPT), Allan Adams (CPT), Byron Rohda (CPT) and Dayle Sackanary (CPT) and Brandon Valjalo (JHB). All of the Skaters in the finals were looking good on the course. The level of Skateboarding increased intensely and the tricks that were being attempted were on international level. In the 2 run attempts, I didn't have the best performance and fell in both of my runs which was a big set back. However, I didn't allow that to keep me down going into the 5 best trick section. I managed to land every single attempt in the best trick section including: Bigspin front board fake the handrail, 360 shuv lip the handrail, Back 180 late back foot flip across the channel, Kickflip front board the handrail and to close off the contest I did a Kickflip Front Blunt down the handrail which solidified myself the 1st place spot and the title as South African Skateboarding Champion.
1st: Brandon Valjalo
2nd: Khule Ngubane
3rd: Karl Van Antwerp
After this event, I (Brandon Valjalo) now move into Number #34 on the Olympic World Skateboarding Ranking. Making myself the highest ranked African Skateboarder set to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 + 1 Olympic Games.