The World Championships was hosted in the historical city of Rome, Italy from the 30th of May - 6th June 2021. This was the final competition to earn Olympic points on the World Skateboarding Ranking, before the final list of 20 street skateboarders would be announced as qualified to represent their country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
With qualifying to be at the debut event of Skateboarding at the Olympic Games. The best level of Skateboarding was about to go down over the week. All the best Skateboarders from around the world were going to be there to earn their spot in the Olympic Games. Names extending as far as Nyjah Huston (USA), Yuto Horigome (JPN) & Sora Shorai (JPN) who are the top 3 skateboarders on the world ranking.
Brandon Valjalo and Khule Ngubane were set to represent South Africa on the world stage amongst over 200 of the best skateboarders from around the world. The competition was so tight that only 32 skateboarders would qualify through to the semi finals. The format of the event worked that in qualifiers you would have 2 runs and your best run counts to attempt to qualify to the semi finals.
Practice was going really well and I had my run as well as my best tricks all figured out for the semi-finals. I was set to skate in heat 4 as skater number 10 in qualifiers. However, just before the contest started we had 20 minutes of warm up in which I slammed doing a front blunt on the 10 stair rail. I tweaked my knee as well as my right quad which played a huge impact on my mental state going into the contest. Therefore, I missed the last trick in my run which was a big spin front board fakie down the big rail. This put intense pressure on myself as I only had 1 more run to qualify for the semi -finals. My second run was not what I was looking for and I also missed my final trick which meant that I wouldn't qualify for the Semis.
Although I didn't qualify through to the semi-finals, after winning the South African championships and competing in the previous season (2019) I would still be the highest ranked African Skateboarder set to qualify for the Olympic Games. My world ranking had now dropped from 33rd to 45th in the world. It wasn't my best performance however it was the first international contest that I had skated in over a year and a half.
Personally I didn't feel as if I deserved to qualify to the Olympics after such a poor performance at the World Championships. I felt under prepared both mentally and physically which is why I decided to stay in Europe after the World Championships and train in Barcelona with Matias Dell Olio and Ivan Monteiro for a Month before the Olympic Games.