- WSL / Ben Reed / ISA

In a pumping week of waves at the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games, Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons and France's Joan Duru have captured ISA gold medals, and 40 athletes have now officially qualified for upcoming surfing's debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo.

The last surfer to claim the historic qualification spot was Japan's Hiroto Ohhara. That final slot was decided in the Men's Repechage Final and came down to a direct battle with teammate Shun Murakami.

Hiroto Ohhara Hiroto Ohhara exits the water an Olympian. - WSL / Pablo Franco

Ohhara stepped up to the occasion and marked two waves in the excellent range including a 9-point ride. He moved onto the Grand Final and secured his slot to vie for an Olympic medal at his homebreak in Chiba. That meant that Murakami's spot he earned at the 2019 World Surfing Games was reallocated to the next eligible Asian surfer, Indonesia's Rio Waida.

Ohhara's selection capped a memorable ISA World Surfing Games for Japan, who claimed the Teams Silver medal behind France.

Rookie Championship Tour surfer Amuro Tsuzuki also made her dream of representing her country in her native waters come true. Along with Tsuzuki, Mahina Maeda will also join Kanoa Igarashi and Ohhara, based on her performances in El Salvador. That Japan have filled their allocation of four is a big boost for the host nation and their quest to have a surfer on the podium in Tokyo.

Amuro Tsuzuki El Salvador Amuro Tsuzuki has been making noise on the CT all season, and now she'll be representing Japan in her home waters for the upcoming Olympic Games. - WSL / Ben Reed / ISA

Japan's strong performances also opened the door for the 2004 World Champion Sofía Mulánovich, who found her way into the Olympic Games after falling out of the event earlier this week. Due to the fact that Japan qualified two women at the 2021 World Surfing Games, the provisional slot earned by Japan's Shino Matsuda at the 2019 World Surfing Games needed to be reallocated as well to the next eligible surfer in the event. That meant the 37-year-old Mulanovich will represent Peru in Tokyo and (barring a surprise appearance by Kelly Slater due to injury) will be the oldest surfer in the field.

Sadly, triumph and heartbreak walk hand in hand as Costa Rica's Leilani McGonagle qualification comes shortly after the loss of a dear friend.

"Winning is fun, however I feel like I am surfing for a greater purpose," McGonagle said this week. "I was really close friends with Katherine Diaz who recently passed away here at La Bocana."

Diaz, an up-and-coming surfer from El Salvador, tragically lost her life in a lightening storm last March.

"She was a really important person to me. Waking up every day here in El Salvador and not seeing her is really hard for me. I think it would be an honor to qualify for my country, but even more so to qualify for her at her home break. I am surfing with her by my side and by my heart."

Leilani McGonagle El Salvador Leilani McGonagle will represent Costa Rica in the upcoming Olympic Games, but will be surfing with the memory of her friend Katherine Diaz in her heart. - WSL / Pablo Franco / ISA

For the men, the South American contingent locked in a strong presence for the upcoming Games. Miguel Tudela and Lucca Mesinas are now set to represent Peru, while Manuel Selman will wave the flag for Chile.

The European contingent also had plenty reasons to celebrate. Germany's Leon Glatzer has made the cut and will be the lone surfer from his country to walk in the opening ceremonies. And for France, experienced veteran Pauline Ado will round out the team with Johanne Defay, Jeremy Flores and Michel Bourez.

"Yesterday was one of the biggest days in my life," said Glatzer. "There was so much work put into it for the last three years. It's been an emotional roller coaster waking up every day and feeling the Olympics at my doorstep."

After learning that he had earned his slot for Tokyo 2020 on Saturday, he then posted the highest heat total of the event. Glatzer's signature aerials earned a near-perfect 18.46 heat total, higher than any other total in the event between the men or women.

Leon Glatzer soaring in El Salvador Leon Glatzer soaring in El Salvador. - WSL / Pablo Jimenez

After an epic week of waves, and three years of qualifying, the 40 surfers are now set to make history in Tokyo. Winner Fitzgibbons best summed up the feeling of elation, relief and optimism about the sport's future.

"Surfing has finally arrived as a global sport. It's got the recognition now," said the current World No. 2. "We are going to the Olympics. Bring it on."

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifiers (20 men, 20 women):


2019 WSL Championship Tour
Carissa Moore (USA)
Caroline Marks (USA)
Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Silvana Lima (BRA)
Brisa Hennessy (CRC)
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Johanne Defay (FRA)

2021 World Surfing Games
Yolanda Sequeria (POR)
Teresa Bonvalot (POR)
Daniella Rosas (PER)
Leilani McGonagle (CRC)
Mahina Maeda (JPN)
Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)
Pauline Ado (FRA)

2019 World Surfing Games
Anat Lelior (ISR)
Bianca Buitendag (RSA)
Ella Williams (NZL)
Sofia Mulanovich (PER)

2019 Pan Am Games
Dominic Barona (ECU)


2019 WSL Championship Tour:
Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Kolohe Andino (USA)
John John Florence (USA)
Owen Wright (AUS)
Julian Wilson (AUS)
Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Michel Bourez (FRA)
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Jordy Smith (RSA)

2021 World Surfing Games
Leon Glatzer (GER)
Miguel Tudela (PER)
Lucca Mesinas (PER)
Manuel Selman (CHI)
Hiroto Ohhara (JPN)

2019 World Surfing Games
Rio Waida (INA)
Frederico Morais (POR)
Billy Stairmand (NZL)
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)

2019 Pan Am Games
Leandro Usuna (ARG)

World Surf League
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