Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk recently expressed his support to a Malaysian skater who received brutal online abuse from critics over her performance during the Asian Games.
Fatin Syahirah Roszizi competed in the women’s skateboarding street event at the JSC Skateboard Stadium in Palembang, Indonesia on Aug. 29.
The 16-year-old was viciously attacked on social media after finishing in eighth and last place at the event.
Margielyn Didal of the Philippines won gold with a score of 30.4, while Fatin scored only 5.4 after falling off within seconds of the start in two of her runs, according to AFP via Channel NewsAsia.
Netizens called her a “disgrace” to Malaysia, with many questioning how she ended up representing the country.
In response to her critics, Fatin deleted all Instagram posts and posted a message apologizing for her performance.
Her post inspired many to express their support, including skateboarding star Tony Hawk, who wrote an inspiring message.
“Don’t give up! If I had listened to the haters throughout my life, I would have stopped skating way too soon,” Hawk wrote.
He then added that the haters were only projecting their insecurities on her because they wish they had the courage to follow their dreams.
“You can be an inspiration to a new generation of Malaysian skaters,” he noted.
Malaysia’s sports minister Syed Saddiq also defended the young athlete on Twitter, noting that such abuse “should never happen.”
This should never happen! Mmg senang orang kritik tapi kita x berada di tempat dia. To be 16 & representing your country, the pressure must be unimaginable. Jika ada pihak yang patut dikritik, kritiklah kementerian & persatuan, bukan Fatin. Malaysians, we are better than this. https://t.co/IZALMFDdlg
— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) August 30, 2018
“It’s easy for people to criticise, but we are not in her place. To be 16 and representing your country, the pressure must be unimaginable,” he wrote.
After the outpouring of support, Fatin soon made her return to Instagram and thanked everyone in a post.