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Nine-year-old skateboarder Mazel Paris Alegado ‘proud’ of her Asian Games performance

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — Mazel Paris Alegado may only be nine years old, but she’s already making history.

The skateboarding prodigy is the youngest member of the Philippines team at this year’s Asian Games and she’s been busy proving that age is just a number.

Alegado qualified as the youngest finalist for the women’s park event on Monday, where she finished seventh out of eight.

Despite skating against athletes with far more experience, Alegado told CNN Philippines’ Sports Desk that she wasn’t nervous about the competition.

“I’m really happy about it because this is my first time and, yeah, I’m just really proud to skate in it,” she said, after receiving a score of 52.85 in the final.

Olympic dreams

Alegado lives in the US, but trained in Portugal ahead of the Asian Games, which are being held in China.

She said she skated everyday for up to eight hours to hone her skills for the global stage.

“I wasn’t really nervous, I was really excited about it,” she said about preparing for such a big tournament.

Alegado said she was five years old when she first stepped on a skateboard.

Initially she loved how she could just “cruise around” on it with her friends, but she’s now got her eyes on sporting success.

She said she hoped to one day reach an Olympic Games but knew she had plenty of practice to do.

There is certainly precedent for youngsters achieving in skateboarding.

The gold medal winner in the women’s park event at this year’s Asian Games was 15-year-old Hinano Kusaki from Japan.

It comes after Great Britain’s Sky Brown won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics when she was just 13, becoming her country’s youngest Olympic medalist.

But while Alegado looks to cement herself as one of the world’s best skateboarders, she’s keen to share some advice to other young girls looking to follow in her footsteps.

“Don’t give up, try your hardest, and if boys can do it, girls can do it,” she said.

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