Debuting at the Grind for Life Series at the Tampa Bowl women’s event on Dec. 2 last year, Taiwanese skateboarder Lin Yi-fan made her first splash on the international skateboarding scene as one of the youngest competitors at only 10 years of age.
On Dec. 3 last year, Lin took third place in the event to cement herself as one of Taiwan’s youngest and most talented park skateboarders.
Lin placed 33rd and 37th at the World Championships Sharjah UAE Women’s Open Qualifiers Park and the World Skateboarding Tour San Juan Argentina Park Women’s Qualifiers respectively to gain more standing and experience, improving her chances of potentially representing Taiwan at the Paris Olympics next year.
After turning 11 last month, Lin is 1,210th in the global park skateboarding rankings and has been confirmed as the youngest member of Taiwan’s delegation to Hangzhou, China, for the 19th Asian Games from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.
Her first foray sliding on the rails involved her entire family.
Lin’s mother, Yang Min-fang, told reporters that the family got interested in skateboarding during a family exercise day at one of Taiwan’s riverside parks.
“We saw people riding skateboards and then bought some to play with,” Yang said. “I was the first one to quit after I got hurt, while the other three signed up with coaches to teach them. As the lessons got more technical, Dad took on more of an assisting role. With our oldest more interested in his studies than sports, Yi-fan was the last of us to keep at it.”
With Lin showing talent on the skateboard, her father, engineer Lin Chien-nan, and other fathers of skateboarding prodigies invested in the construction of a skatepark to help up-and-coming riders train.
“On the development of skateboarding, Taiwan doesn’t yet have a proper venue,” Lin Chien-nan said. “I hope that within my capabilities, I have been able to help improve Taiwan’s skateboarding scene.”
After millions in investments to build the venue, Starting Point Skatepark officially opened its doors two years ago in Taoyuan’s Longtan District. It also started offering training to individuals like Lin Yi-fan, as well as other skateboarding prodigies and casual skateboard enthusiasts.
Although the skatepark cost a lot to build, Lin Chien-nan said that the investment does not mean his daughter absolutely has to skateboard, adding that he told her to pursue her dreams and feel free to do other things when she wants to.
The young Taiwanese skater’s knack for her craft is rooted in her natural athletic prowess.
She was already spending time on a trampoline for gymnastics and swimming before she started skateboarding.
While the physique and body coordination she picked up from gymnastics helped her transition into skateboarding with ease, Lin Yi-fan said that the first obstacle to overcome before getting on a skateboard is to conquer the fear of getting hurt, adding that learning how to fall is important to avoid injury.
Yang said that on top of Lin Yi-fan’s athletic aptitude, her daughter is an active person who is also unrelenting and a daredevil.
With competitions taking Lin Yi-fan abroad for long periods, Yang has since left her job as a teacher to accompany her daughter in pursuit of higher achievements.
“Yi-fan’s life is now completely different from peers her age,” Yang said. “Training in different countries abroad with her has also changed my life and I hope she can go on to make the country proud.”
On her upcoming trip to Hangzhou, Lin Yi-fan said: “I am not afraid of going to the Asian Games, since I’ve already been head-to-head with contestants from other countries.”
“I hope to finish in the top three,” she said.
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