The International Surfing Association announced on Sunday that the World Surfing Games will return to Japan next year and will be the first direct qualifiers of the 2020 Tokyo Games, where the sport will make its Olympic debut.
The best-qualified man and woman from Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania at 7 to 15's 2019 event on Kisakihama beach in Miyazaki province in southeastern Kyushu will automatically qualify for Tokyo 2020.
Surfers of the Americas will qualify based on their results at the 2019 Pan American Games.
It will mark the third consecutive year for ISA to host an international event in Japan.
"Japan has demonstrated its extraordinary organizational capacity by hosting key ISA events, so we are excited and proud to return to this incredible country for the third consecutive year with our flagship event," said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.
"With excellent weather, excellent waves and the warm spirit of the Japanese people, Miyazaki ... will be a great destination to hold this event," he added.
Atsushi Sakai, president of the Nippon Surfing Association, said he is looking forward to giving the world a preview of the athletes who will qualify for Tokyo 2020 and praised Japan's performance at the WSG in September.
"The performance of Japan's gold medal last year was a breakthrough that showed the elite talent we have for the world," Sakai said. "We look forward to defending our title for the first time at home."
At this year's WSG at Pacific Long Beach in Tahara, Aichi Prefecture, Team Japan posted their best result and won the team's first gold medal in the history of World Surfing Games, thanks in part to the Kanoa Igarashi silver medal. .
Igarashi, whose parents moved to California before he was born, changed his competitive nationality earlier this year in hopes of representing Japan in 2020.
Japan, as host nation, will have an automatic spot in each of the 20 Olympic sweepstakes of surfers and will have a chance to win another.
Source: Kyodo News