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Surfing to become an Olympic event in 2020

Jeffreys Bay – The Corona Open JBay was once again a highly successful event and provided a healthy cash injection into the Jeffreys Bay economy.

The end of the Corona Open JBay also means that its just a year to go until surfing debuts as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“Surfing is a truly global sport and it’s fantastic to see it included in the Olympic Games,” said Pat O’Connell, WSL Head of Competition and SVP of Tours and Events. “The surfers are genuinely excited about representing their countries on such a prestigious stage and I think it will provide the Games with an important and exciting new dimension in 2020 and beyond.”

The Championship Tour is the elite year-long tour that crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions each season and 2019 is also the primary qualifier for the Olympic Games.

Stop No. 6 on the tour, the Corona Open JBay, has just wrapped up in Jeffreys Bay and there are now just five events remaining on the men’s tour and four on the women’s, so the race is on.

Following the final CT events of 2019 (the Hawaii Pro and Billabong Pipe Masters), the world rankings will determine the first 18 eligible Olympic qualifiers (10 men and 8 women), subject to all qualified surfers meeting the ISA’s and IOC’s eligibility requirements and being selected by their respective National Olympic Committee.

Corona Open JBay Jeffreys Bay
Jordy Smith is in line to represent South Africa at the Tokyo Olympic Games.. Photo: World Surf League

There is a maximum of two men and two women for each country that can qualify so this year’s CT sees surfers not only battle for the World Title and requalification but also to finish as one of the top two ranked surfers from their nation.

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The remaining 22 places will be determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot (each for men and women) for the host nation, Japan.

Based on today’s standings, the following 18 athletes would qualify to compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020:

CT Olympic selection after Corona Open JBay:

USA – Kolohe Andino, John John Florence, Carissa Moore, Lakey Peterson
Australia – Ryan Callinan, Julian Wilson, Sally Fitzgibbons, Stephanie Gilmore
Brasil – Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Silvana Lima
Japan – Kanoa Igarashi
South Africa – Jordy Smith
France – Michel Bourez, Jeremy Flores, Johanne Defay
Costa Rica – Brisa Hennessy

The next event on the Men’s CT is the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o (August 21 – September 1) and the next stop on the Women’s CT is the Freshwater Pro (September 19 – 21).

Feature photo: Stan Blumberg

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