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Agonising Olympic Miss For Hareb Leaves New Zealand With Two Tokyo Bound Surfers

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New Zealand’s hopes of a third surfer at this year’s Olympics rested on Paige Hareb in the early hours this morning (Sunday 6th June).  Unfortunately, hopes were dashed after two tough heats that saw Hareb eliminated from the event in an exceptional 11th place overall, but still two places short of qualification.

The tough result leaves Billy Stairmand (Rag) and Ella Williams (WGM) as the two qualifying surfers for Tokyo.

With a myriad of qualification calculations unfolding today, Hareb could have secured her berth at the Olympics by advancing out of a big qualifying round heat early in the morning against Daniella Rosas (PER), Leilani McGonagle (CRC) and Lucia Indurain (ARG).

As the heat unfolded, the 30-year-old Taranaki surfer finished third behind Rosas and McGonagle, left requiring a 6.53 to advance.  Hareb held priority in the dying stages of the heat but the Costa Rican was glued to Hareb defending her advancing position and no decent waves came offering a chance for Hareb to get the score required.

All hopes were not dashed however, with a do-or-die repechage round match-up less than two hours after her first heat.  The scenario was simple again, another heat progression to seal her own fate.  However, it was not to be with the El Salvador line up at La Bocana proving challenging to master leaving Hareb in fourth place in the heat, this time needing a 5.27 to advance.

In the dying stages of the heat, Hareb had a chance to surf to the score but could only find room for one turn on the wave as the French surfer charged toward her on the oncoming right.  The score came through as a 3.5 which was not enough. Pauline Ado (FRA) and Alyssa Spencer (USA) advanced through the heat with Vahine Fierro (FRA) in third.

As the heat results continued to unfold and qualification scenarios narrowed down, a third place finish in the heat and a score of 8.37 would have been enough to secure the seventh and final Olympics berth, bumping out Japan’s Amura Tsuzuki.

The final day of the event will unfold early on Monday morning New Zealand time with the crowning of the event champions and overall teams title.  All but one Olympic qualification spot in the Men’s Division have been confirmed.

Please see below for results from the two heats contested by Paige Hareb today on day seven of the ISA World Surfing Games held in El Salvador (Sunday 6th June 2021).

Women’s Qualifying Round 5
Daniella Rosas, PER, 11.93, 1, Leilani McGonagle, CRC, 11.63, 2, Paige Hareb, NZL, 9.77, 3, Lucia Indurain, ARG, 8.3, 4

Women’s Repechage Round 8
Pauline Ado, FRA, 9.6, 1, Alyssa Spencer, USA, 8.76, 2, Vahiné Fierro, FRA, 7.46, 3, Paige Hareb, NZL, 7, 4

Surfing is being contested at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for the first time in July.  Twenty males and twenty females will compete at the event with country’s fielding a maximum of two athletes in each category.  The 2021 ISA World Surfing Games is the final opportunity for athletes to qualify with seven spots up for grabs in the Women’s Division and five in the Men’s Division.

In 2019 Ella Williams was joined by Billy Stairmand as the two Oceania qualifiers, Stairmand finishing eighth at the event to secure his provisional spot.  The highest placed male and female from Oceania secured Olympic spots provided they finished inside the top 30 at the event.

The 2021 ISA World Surfing Games is being streamed live.  El Salvador is 18 hours behind New Zealand.  Action will take place from approximately 2:00am (NZT) each morning of the event.

Olympic Qualification
The Olympic qualification process started with the World Surf League (WSL) where ten males and 8 females on the 2019 World Tour directly qualified for Tokyo 2020.  No more than two athletes per nation can qualify via this process.

The top ranked male and female surfers from four continents qualified via the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games.  The Americas had a stand-alone qualification event to determine their continental qualifiers.

View the full Olympic qualification system.

About International Surfing Association (ISA)
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and surfriding.  It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964, and the Junior World Championships since 1980.

Further Information
For further information on the New Zealand Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

High resolution action images of team members will be available to media free of charge upon request.

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Follow Surfing New Zealand via all social media platforms – @surfingnz.

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