Fitzgibbons wins World Surfing Games gold

·2-min read

Sally Fitzgibbons is proving the surfer to beat at the Tokyo Olympics, winning the final qualification event - the ISA World Surfing Games - in El Salvador.

Fresh off her World Surf League title win at Rottnest Island in Western Australia last month, Fitzgibbons blitzed the 51-nation field at Lo Bocana and El Sunzal surf breaks.

The Australian Olympian won the gold medal with a score of 14.1 points, five points clear of Portugal's Yolanda Sequeira with her compatriot Teresa Bonvalot winning bronze in the four-surfer final.

In the men's event, Frenchman Joan Duru scored a total of 14.94 points to overcome Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi's 13.74 points while French veteran Jeremy Flores won bronze.

France won the team's gold medal ahead of Japan and Portugal while Australia finished fifth.

Australia was also represented in the women's event Stephanie Gilmore (T15th) while Owen Wright (T11th) and Julian Wilson (T16th) flew the flag in the men's.

An elated Fitzgibbons was chaired up the beach by her fellow Irukandjis, which the Australian surfing team goes by.

The world No. 2 tweeted: "What an amazing feeling to win Gold @ISAsurfing World Games. First place medal wearing my heart on my sleeve and surfing with everything I've got for the mighty Aussie land".

She later told the LA Times the win would give her confidence going into Tokyo, with surfing scheduled to start on July 25.

"It was so tough this weekend. It was a credit to all the Olympians going to Tokyo," Fitzgibbons said.

"I'm so stoked for them and I can't wait to compete against them again in a couple months.

"My dream's always been to win that world title and now to win a gold medal for Australia. I know I've got what it takes."

All Olympic surfers were required to compete, with 12 spots - five male and seven female - still up for grabs and nations including Nicaragua, Sweden, Senegal, Germany, the Netherlands and Taiwan represented.

Some high-profile surfers, including American representatives Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks, as well as Brazilian world No.1 Gabriel Medina, departed early after meeting their final Tokyo qualification requirement of surfing in the event.

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