And the first surfers to qualify for Tokyo 2020 are…
Two Peruvians may have become the first surfers to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Lucca Mesinas and Daniella Rosas secured the gold medals in the shortboard division at the 2019 Pan American Games, held in Lima, the capital of Peru.
Two qualification slots for the sport’s Olympic debut in Japan were at stake for the top eligible man and woman competing in the shortboard finals.
According to surfing’s qualification system for Tokyo 2020, the winners of the 2019 Pan American Games will obtain one quota place for the upcoming Summer Olympics.
However, the rules say that if a National Olympic Committee (NOC) qualifies more than the maximum quota – two surfers per gender, and per nation – the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games will prevail, and any places earned in 2019 will be re-awarded to the next highest finishing athlete(s).
So, the only scenario in which Mesinas and Rosas would not qualify is if two fellow countrymen and countrywomen qualify ahead of them at the 2020 World Surfing Games.
“I know I am not confirmed yet, but the goal was to give myself the best chance. But I am also going to go to the 2020 World Surfing Games to rip and not let anyone pass me in the qualification ranking,” explained an ecstatic Lucca Mesinas.
“I dreamed of qualifying since surfing was officially included in the Olympic Games. This is probably the best day of my life and one that I will never forget.”
Rosas was also thrilled to win the gold medal for Peru.
“I have no words to describe everything I feel right now. I always say it’s an honor to represent this beautiful flag, sing the national anthem,” added Daniella Rosas.
“I have not stopped training since I knew I had qualified for this event. I gave 100 percent in every heat and focused on achieving this goal.”
The next stage on surfing’s Olympic qualifying schedule is the 2019 World Surfing Games. The event will award eight tickets (four for each gender) to the four top finishing male surfers from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.
Surfers from the American continent will not be able to qualify to Tokyo 2020 via this competition.