Pro Skate League kick starts in Porto with Olympic status

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The Skate Park of Ramalde is the stage of the new Pro Skate League, an annual circuit of seven stages aimed at boosting the modality that will be taken to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The Porto stage, presented at a press conference, yesterday, 29th April, will be held between 6th and 9th May and it will be the only stage in Portugal to score for the world ranking that qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, for the first time.

One of the goals of this competition, organised by the Skating Federation of Portugal (FPP) and by Porto City Hall is to increase the number of federate athletes, from the current 350 to circa 10 thousand athletes for the Paris Olympics 2024. Paulo Ribeiro, the FPP’s National Coordinator of the Technical Skate Committee expects that circa 150 athletes will be skating at the Skate Park de Ramalde.

This event was also attended by the Councillor for Youth and Sports of Porto City Hall, Catarina Araújo, who expressed the willingness that the stage in Porto “is able to reach the full number of athletes that qualify for the Olympic Games. That we might be in luck here, in this fantastic spot”, Catarina Araújo added.

Also in attendance were FPP’s deputy chairman, Agostinho Silva, athletes João Neto, the ambassador of the Pro Skate League, Duarte Pires, of the national team, who has already qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament, and skater de Esperanças, Madu Teixeira.

This initiative is includes two stages of the competition, one for younger athletes and another for athletes that compete the world ranking and seek to qualify for the Olympic Games, in order to “have a higher level of competition and competiveness that will provide greater experience to less experienced athletes”, explained Paulo Ribeiro, the national coordinator of the modality,

According to the Skating Federation of Portugal, skate was the modality in greater demand in Portuguese schools in 2020, with an average growth of 20 to 25% per month. Moreover, last year, the Municipality of Porto paid for all the registration fees regarding athletes training in the city.

The Pro Skate League takes place in the Skate Park of Ramalde, which was established to address the needs of the “large skater community in the city”, enhanced the councillor for Youth and Sports, who furthered that “this was the will of the Municipality, to establish such an infrastructure with these high quality conditions and safety requirements, to serve as the home and stage that welcomes athletes”.

On 8th May, there is the National League and the Open Qualifier, with training sessions on 6th and 7th May. Semi-finals and finals happen on Sunday, 9th May, which will be shown live on the Sport TV channel. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the event will not have a live audience.

After Porto, the Pro Skate League heads to Aveiro (17 to 20 June), Almada (1 to 4 July), Cascais (15 to 18 July), Faro (9 to 12 September), Mealhada (23 to 26 September) and Lisbon (28 to 31 October). Applications only by federate athletes, members of the FPP.

It is worth recalling that Porto City Hall invested circa 150 thousand euros in Ramalde Skate Park, a 950 square meter, designed by architect and skater Francisco Lopez "França", which can house up to 55 skateboarders and skaters simultaneously. This is a place where athletes can enjoy a true skate park and not just a street spot, with the venue offering half-pipes, quarter pipes, spine transfers, handrails, fun boxes, vert ramps, pyramids, banked ramps, full pipes, pools, bowls, snake runs, and stair sets, just to mention a few.

As soon as the Skate Park do Porto opened, it offered free skate classes for beginners. At first, classes were held only on Saturdays and Sundays mornings, between 10am and 12 noon. However, due to the enormous demand the municipal company Ágora – Cultura e Desporto of Porto decided to extend free sessions starting in August 2019, with two weekly sessions, on Mondays and on Thursdays, from 5.30pm till 7.30pm, including the sessions over the weekend, every Saturday and Sunday, between 10am and 12 noon, weather permitting.

Classes should resume soon, and as Catarina Araújo enthused, “we are looking forward to it”, as they have been paused due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition, the Ramalde Skate Park is in the process of expanding facilities that should conclude in the summer of 2022.

The Skate Park of Porto surpassed all expectations, as it boasts the best pipes for all street skaters. The project is to be developed by Francisco Lopez, again, and the works should be concluded in the beginning of the summer of 2022. The investment amounts to 150 thousand euros.