Owen Wright's brilliant recovery after Olympic judging controversy

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·Sports Reporter
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Owen Wright claimed bronze for Australia in the surfing, overcoming a bitterly disappointing semi-final loss to finish third in Tokyo. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Owen Wright claimed bronze for Australia in the surfing, overcoming a bitterly disappointing semi-final loss to finish third in Tokyo. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Australian surfer Owen Wright has bounced back from a disappointing judge's decision in the semi-final to claim Olympic bronze over Brazil's Gabriel Medina.

Wright had a narrow loss to Brazil's 2019 world champion Italo Ferreira in the semi-finals at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach.

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His chance at gold was scuppered when he controversially lost priority with three minutes left in the semi and Ferriera held on to win 13.17 to 12.47.

He slapped the water in frustration over the call, which set up his bronze medal showdown against Medina.

Wright and the Brazilian star went toe to toe before the Australian star was eventually able to prevail and make his way to the podium, thanks to a final score of 11.97 to 11.77.

The 31-year-old from Culburra suffered a near-fatal head injury while surfing at Hawaii's Pipeline in 2015 and a bronze caps his remarkable comeback.

Wright beat Peruvian Lucca Mesinas 16.30 to 11.90 earlier on Tuesday in their quarter-final.

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The men's and women's finals were moved forward by one day because of the conditions generated by tropical storm Nepartak.

Medina, the two-time world champion, looked in control of his semi-final heat against Igarashi.

But the Japanese star then unleashed his 540-degree mid-air rotation and looked as stunned as everyone else when he landed it perfectly.

The 9.33 wave score put him in control and he beat Medina 17.00 to 16.76.

Sally Fitzgibbon suffers brutal Olympic surfing heartbreak

While Wright was able to salvage a medal after the disappointment of his semi-final, women's star Sally Fitzgibbon was left shattered after being outscored in the quarter finals.

She labelled her shock quarter-final loss to Japan's Amuro Tsuzuk the toughest result of her career.

Tsuzuki used home beach advantage perfectly to down Fitzgibbons.

A 6.60 ride gave Tsuzuki the lead with less than 10 minutes left.

The Australian could not find the 7.10 wave score she needed and Tsuzuki won 13.27 to 11.67.

"To my family, I just want to say thanks so much," a tearful Fitzgibbons told the Seven Network.

"I surfed every wave out there for you."

Fitzgibbons said she badly wanted to perform better for her teammates and country.

"This hurts so bad, this one (is) the toughest loss of my career," she said.

"My heart is just shattered."

With AAP

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