On the face of it, Sally Fitzgibbons couldn’t have timed her run to the Tokyo Olympics a lot better, after the Australian surfer’s sizzling streak continued with a gold medal on the closing qualification occasion for the Video games.
Victory on the ISA World Browsing Video games in El Salvador got here after Fitzgibbons won her first event title of the World Surf League season at Rottnest Island final month and marks her out as one of many girls to beat as soon as the delayed Video games get underneath means on 25 June.
Fitzgibbons did it the laborious means at Lo Bocana and El Sunzal surf breaks, securing gold by rising unscathed from a complete of 11 heats after having been relegated to the repecharge rounds final week. It meant she needed to win via a collection of seven sudden demise match-ups.
However having navigated her means via to the ultimate, the present world No 2 was capable of declare gold with a 14.1 level whole forward of Portuguese pair Yolanda Sequeira and Teresa Bonvalot. Peruvian Daniella Rosas got here in fourth.
For good measure, victory in El Salvador noticed her make historical past as the primary athlete to win gold thrice on the World Surfing Video games, following successes in 2008 and 2018.
Having now received on her final two outings and in addition had the chance to take a look at her Olympic rivals throughout the 51-nation competitors in Central America, Fitzgibbons is brimming with confidence within the construct as much as the Video games in Japan, the place the game will make its Olympic debut.
“This occasion has been an unreal platform to check our psychological energy,” mentioned Fitzgibbons. “It’s surreal to be sporting the gold medal on the finish of the week.
“It is a nice runway heading into Tokyo 2020. Simply competing and seeing all of the Olympians get their spots is nice. Being on the World Tour we don’t get to surf in opposition to quite a lot of the opposite Olympians. It’s good follow to go in opposition to them and spend time bonding with the remainder of the Aussie crew.
“Browsing has lastly arrived as a worldwide sport. It’s acquired the popularity now. We’re going to the Olympics. It’s cool to have that as a milestone in my profession. I wish to go so long as I can within the sport as a result of I like it.”
Fitzgibbons has already been chosen to signify Australia on the Video games, alongside Stephanie Gilmore, Owen Wright and Julian Wilson, however the quartet needed to attend the occasion in El Salvador to be eligible to compete in Tokyo.
The Australian crew, recently rebranded as the Irukandjis, completed fifth total after Gilmore reached the seventh spherical of the ladies’s competitors and Wright pushed deep into the lads’s draw earlier than falling in repecharge 9. Wilson made it via to the fourth. Frenchman Joan Duru received the lads’s occasion and, with compatriot Jeremy Flores selecting up bronze, France received the crew gold medal.
Different high names on the WSL tour reminiscent of Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks of the US and Brazil’s world No 1 Gabriel Medina checked out of the competitors early as soon as that they had fulfilled their qualification necessities.
Australia’s surfers will now head to California and Mexico for WSL occasions earlier than lastly heading to Japan for subsequent month’s begin to the Video games.