Top Singaporean female skateboarder Farah Atika just wants to enjoy her sport
The two-time Singapore Skateboarding Championships winner knows competing at the highest level is beyond reach, and she's fine with it.
In all honesty, Farah Atika Abdullah knows that as the winner of the female category of the Singapore Skateboarding Championships (SSC) for two years running, she is still not at the standard required of her.
After all, in the most recent edition held just two weeks back, there were only six contestants, with some much younger than her too.
Farah admitted to Youth.SG that there are plenty of other female skateboarders out there who are probably as good as her too. It’s only because of their inability to perform in front of the crowd or under pressure that they aren’t joining the competitions.
In fact, when Youth.SG first got into contact with Farah about featuring her in a video reviewing the revamped skate course at the Somerset Skatepark, the 22-year-old conceded that she might not be able to complete all the obstacles, to manage our expectations.
Her candour is certainly refreshing, even though her admission was surprising, especially coming from one of the top female skateboarders in Singapore. She was part of the Team Singapore contingent in the SEA Games that was held in the Philippines last year, having earned her ticket to Manila after winning last year’s SSC.
“I was approached by the Singapore RollerSports Federation immediately after the competition. I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited!” Farah recalled. “But at the same time, I was nervous too, knowing that the other competitors from other countries were at the world skate level – they are as good as the professional skateboarders.”
As it turned out, competing in the SEA Games was an eye-opening experience for her. It was “scary” initially, Farah said, but in 10 days at the regional competition, she had gained exposure like never before.
She added: “It felt really different, you know, because I’ve always competed locally among friends from the skateboarding community. The competitors there – they weren’t friends and they were there just to be the best.”
Farah finished fourth in the women’s street category and came home without a medal. But for someone who has never received proper coaching, it was quite an accomplishment.
She had gotten into skateboarding out of curiosity initially. The first time she stepped onto a skateboard – she was 13 – was to try out a neighbour’s new skateboard.
She only learned how to do an ollie – a basic skateboarding trick where the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider’s hands – a couple of years on. But that trick is what hooked her onto the sport.
“I’m fascinated by the physics of it. Like how you can ‘pop’ a skateboard, go onto railings and obstacles and stuff. That’s what I love about skateboarding,” she shared.
And like any skateboarder, Farah has her own favourite trick – the board slide. While it is a basic move for most skateboarders, she loves that it can be done on different obstacles, with the difficulty increasing when it’s performed on larger obstacles.
“I’m working on perfecting my basic tricks and what I can do now. Because learning new tricks takes some time, and I prefer to be able to consistently perform the tricks I know,” she said.
“I like how I can feel like I’m going up higher than before [when I get better at my tricks], but at the same time, I want to make sure I land cleanly – with four wheels on the floor.”
When asked about her future goals, the ITE College West student remained modest. While most athletes aim to get to the pinnacle of sports – the Olympics – Farah knows it is almost impossible without the support to turn professional, hire a personal coach and receive specialised training.
With earnings from winning local competitions ranging from low to mid three-figure sums, it is also impossible for her to sustain a living based solely on that. As such, she still sees skateboarding as a hobby, rather than a career.
“If there is any competition, I will still work hard and try to win it. But for now, I’m still content to skate for the fun of it during weekends, or in my free time.”