Sally Fitzgibbons is firming as one of the favourites to claim surfing gold at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics after winning the final qualification event in El Salvador.
- Sally Fitzgibbons says it was an “amazing feeling” to win the gold medal in El Salvador
- Australia finished fifth in the combined team standings
- Surfing is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo
Fresh off her World Surf League title win at Rottnest Island in Western Australia last month, Fitzgibbons blitzed the 51-nation field in the World Surfing Games at Lo Bocana and El Sunzal surf breaks.
The Australian won the women’s gold medal with a score of 14.10 points to finish well clear of Portuguese representatives Yolanda Sequeira (9.20) and Teresa Bonvalot (9.04) in the four-surfer final.
In the men’s event, Frenchman Joan Duru scored a total of 14.94 points to finish ahead of Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi (13.74), while French veteran Jeremy Flores (12.94) won bronze.
France won the team gold medal ahead of Japan and Portugal, while Australia finished fifth.
Australia was also represented in the women’s event by Stephanie Gilmore (tied for 15th), while Owen Wright (tied for 11th) and Julian Wilson (tied for 16th) competed in the men’s competition.
Following her win, Fitzgibbons tweeted it was an “amazing feeling” to win in El Salvador.
All Olympic surfers were required to compete at the World Surfing Games, with 12 spots in the Tokyo field — five male and seven female — up for grabs.
Some high-profile surfers, such as the respective women’s and men’s world number ones Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina, departed early after meeting their final Tokyo qualification requirement of surfing in the event.
Surfing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo. The Games are scheduled to begin on July 23.