A Penticton roller derby player is lacing up her skates to compete for the Philippines at the Roller Derby World Cup being held in Manchester, England at the beginning of February.
Melodie Lapina, a.k.a. Blair Block, joined the Penticton Pistoleras in the fall of 2017 after playing for multiple teams in different leagues throughout the Okanagan. She’s played roller derby for about nine years.
“Growing up in Canada as a second generation immigrant it’s an honour to be selected to be part of the first team to represent the Philippines at the Roller Derby World Cup. I am so thrilled to be able to not only wear my family’s name on the back of my jersey (Lapina), but also to wear the flag of that country on the front. It’s surreal and I hope that I can make everyone proud,” she stated in a press release.
Lapina skates the jammer position. Roller derby fans will know that the jammer has star on her helmet and is working to score points.
Lapina noted being a part of roller derby has changed her life and filled it with friends.
“Derby has helped me lose weight and gain confidence. I’ve met the best people on these eight wheels over the years and it has taken me places I never thought I could go. I have big goals that I am working towards. I want to be a faster and more agile skater.”
Monika Adrian, a.k.a. Coach Tron of the Pistoleras coaching, said it’s exciting to have a local player skating on the world stage.
“I have known Melodie for years, and watching her grow as a skater and woman has been inspiring. She is an absolute pleasure to coach and we are looking forward to watching one of our very own skaters fulfill her dreams. Proof that hard work and pushing through all that life throws at you is worth it.”
Also competing in the four-day tournament kicking off Feb. 1 is Gina Ho Fatt-Palmer, Roc-A-Fellon, a Okanagan Roller Derby team member. Fatt-Palmer is competing for Team West Indies.
The tournament pits 38 national teams from across the globe against each other all skating after the same goal – to win the gold.
The tournament runs through to Feb. 4. World Cup bouts can be streamed online at www.rollerderbyworldcup.com