Azores (Portugal): In team leg of the tournament, Team France came atop all at the 2016 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, in a 9-day world-class competition held at Portugal. This is a first for the winners in the history of the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship; also a first in the Olympic Surfing era.
In the battle of teams, it was Team France which prevailed on team Australia in the overall team rankings on the penultimate day of competition and didn’t let go on the Final Day. Australia finished with Silver followed by Hawaii which took Bronze and Japan which took Copper. Like France, it was Japan’s first medal as well- winning a Copper in the history of the ISA.
In individual events, it was Caroline Marks of America who won Gold in Girls Under-16), Thomas Debierre of France who won Gold in Boys Under-16, Brisa Hennessy of Hawaii who came atop in Girls Under-18 and Weslley Dantas of Brazil who stood on the highest level of the podium in Boys U-18; and were the first individual World Junior Champions in the era of Olympic Surfing.
Speaking about the competition and results, ISA President Fernando Aguerre spoke,”Congratulations to the Team Gold Medalist, Team France, and the individual Gold Medalists Caroline Marks, Thomas Debierre, Brisa Hennessey and Weslley Dantas. These surfers will forever be the very first ISA Junior Gold Medalists in the Olympic Surfing era. As all the other ISA competitors, they surfed in true Olympic spirit and showed amazing team camaraderie as they competed for the honor of representing their countries.
Speaking further about the success of the tournament, he added, “A record-breaking 39 nations came together from around the world to surf in this history-making VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, for a phenomenal week of surfing and national pride. Since 1980, the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship has been the premiere stage for developing the future stars of our sport and this year is no exception. These Gold Medalists have burst into the spotlight and could be the first Olympic surfers ever at Tokyo 2020.”
Speaking about the performance and feat the Girls Under-16 Gold Medalist, Caroline Marks, said,“It feels amazing to win the first Gold Medal of the event! This is my first ISA World Championship, so this win is really special to me. My teammates helped me a ton.”
Adding about the days of toil, she said further, “I worked really hard to get here and moving forward it is definitely a goal of mine to compete with all the world’s top female surfers.”
Boys Under-16 Gold Medalist, Thomas Debierre, said, “I came here to win the title and that’s what I did. I am stoked that I won. This is a big step for me, for my Surfing and for getting to the Olympics.”
Speaking about the team which supported him in reaching this stage of his career, he added, “Having my team behind me gave me all of the strength that I needed. This is the best day of my life!”
Speaking about her performance, Girls Under-18 Gold Medalist, Brisa Hennessy, said, “It means so much to win the Gold. My experience from last year’s event where I won the Bronze Medal helped me so much. I hope one day that I can use this experience get to the Olympics. That would be amazing.”
Adding further about the competition, she added, “The ISA World Junior Surfing Championship is an amazing contest and I always look forward to the next one.”
While the Boys Under-18 Gold Medalist, Weslley Dantas, said, “It’s great to have won here in the Azores. This tells all Brazilians that there can be many more World Champions from Brazil. I think that I can be an Olympic surfer one day as well as many of the competitors that participated in this event.”
Earlier, at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, IOC had agreed to add Baseball/Softball, Karate, Skateboard, Sports Climbing and Surfing to the sports programme for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, after Tokyo 2020’s balanced proposal which fulfilled all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation, IOC President, Thomas Bach had said.