Sports

Meet FilAm world champion speed racer Tim Del Rosario

By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor

MANILA – At 6’4” and more than 200 pounds, this FilAm looks more at home in a basketball court.

But he is already a world champion in his chosen sport, being one of only four men who has broken the 90-mile per hour record in downhill skateboarding.

Tim Del Rosario is both competitor and coach of downhill skateboarding. He was in Manila this month to compete in one of the tournaments of the USA Downhill Skateboarding Association. Sadly, he suffered a small accident and was thus unable to make the race. 

The big one, however, takes place in Italy later this year, he told Philippine News Today.

It’s as dangerous as it sounds, and Tim Del as he is called is fully prepared. He first took up the sport at 16, which means he’s been into it for exactly half his life as he is now 32.

As all pros are wont to do, he makes sure that chances of an injury are kept at a bare minimum. During formal competitions, he is fully clothed from head to foot with a leather jumpsuit, donning a helmet specifically made for downhill skateboarding.

He owns two suits, one made in the Mideast, the other from Brazil.

Tim has been rising his board for a few years now. In all, his competing gear goes for about $1,000.

Still, zooming downhill at such breakneck speeds is not without risks.

This relatively new sport evolved from the skateboard craze of a few decades ago, which itself was born out of wooden boards that roller skaters placed wheels on.

“I took a liking to the longboard at 16,” he said. At that age, he immediately began competing and hasn’t stopped since.

Back then, he was already practicing all day.

“Most of the practice I do is on skis and snowboards,” he said, so by the time he actually competes, “muscle memory takes over.”

Besides skateboarding, Tim considers himself as someone who likes all kinds of sports, with surfing among his other interests.

As a resident of Colorado, however, skiing is something that he also does regularly.

“At 10,000 feet elevation, that’s where I get the majority of my training,” he said.

Thus, it is almost by default that Tim keeps in tiptop shape. Training at high altitudes is something that many athletes do to have an edge over their opponents. Before his big fights, for example, Manny Pacquiao would begin his training camp by staying in Baguio City for daily jogs.

It’s better than training at sea level, according to Tim, as his stamina is much better as a result of the high mountain air giving him stronger lungs.

Tim has a girlfriend who was also into longboard speed racing. They met a few years ago, and have been a couple ever since. He also has an eight-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, whom he sees regularly.

Tim admits, however, that he would rather not see his daughter be a competitive racer like himself. Part of being a protective father, perhaps, but if she goes into the sport for the fun if it, “that will be good enough for me,” he told Philippine News Today.

For now, Tim remains not only a coach as well as a competitor, but also a champion in other ways. He longs for the day when speed racing on longboards becomes an Olympic sport.

It does have an international following already, and deserves the same recognition as skiing on the slopes during the regular Winter Olympics.

In places like Canada, Switzerland, Sweden…all over Europe, in fact, downhill skateboarding has large followings.

He also wishes that the day would come that institutional sponsors come in with the big bucks which would certainly raise the level of the competition.

Tim’s chosen sport “has had its ups and downs” by his own admission. But the fact that it is still thriving and he is still around more than a decade and a half after he first began speaks volumes for his commitment.

And the one thing that no one can take away from him is his having broken the 90 mph barrier. Very likely, he will be in the record books for many decades to come.

Tim Del’s family came to Manila to extend their moral support. But as a damper, a slight accident kept him from showing his stuff to his kababayans.

It was, for the athlete, his first visit to the land of his mother’s birth. Hopefully, next time he visits, Tim Del can show why he is the best of the best at the adrenalin-rushed sport that is downhill skateboarding.