Sally Fitzgibbons has shone a spotlight on Australian surfing after winning the World Surf League’s Rio Pro in Brazil.
She is now the World No. 1, taking the title from reigning world champion Steph Gilmore.
Fitzgibbons prevailed 14.64 to 12.57 over the USA’s Carissa Moore in Rio, using her priority in the last 30 seconds of the final to snatch the last wave and ensure the win.
The victory is Fitzgibbons’ first in a couple of years, her last being the 2017 Margaret River Pro.
Fitzgibbons now leads the world rankings, and comes in ahead of fellow Australian Steph Gilmore, now ranked third, as well as her opponent Moore who comes in at 2nd.
‘‘It feels pretty delightful,’’ Fitzgibbons said after the win in Rio.
‘‘Just coming in and receiving that welcome back to the beach, that was insane, and some of my mates cheering me up the beach and a big hug from my dad.”
‘‘And I know my mum’s watching out there with all my family and friends, and just the team that had my back, so it’s all part of the process and they’ve all chipped in and it’s pretty cool to be standing here.’’
— World Surf League (@wsl) June 23, 2019
Our Aussie women are on 🔥 Congratulations @sally_fitz on the incredible win in Rio last night!! Epic fight against your rival @rissmoore10 You are where you were worn to be…. World Number 1!!!!!🥇👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/yY2uDC4clO
— Layne Beachley (@LayneCBeachley) June 23, 2019
It’s not just Fitzgibbons that Australians are feeling immensely proud of right now.
Over the weekend, we watched Ash Barty rise to the top of tennis, becoming World No 1 after an impressive couple of months. She’s the first Australian woman in 43 years to hold the top spot. Barty won the French Open earlier this month and is now set to play Wimbledon.
Despite Barty’s astonishing effort, she remains humble and insists her new ranking is a team effort.
“It has just been the most amazing journey for myself and my team,” she said. “We have got to this point by doing all the small things right. It has certainly just been the most amazing month of tennis for us.”
In the same 24 hours, Perth’s Hannah Green claimed her first major title in the golfing world, wining the Women’s PGA Championship in Minneapolis.
She’s the first Australian woman to win a major title in 13 years, an impressive feat considering she was relatively unknown a year ago. Green is only 22 years old and this was the first time she has even contested a major.
In the midst of heartbreak after the Matildas’ devastating exit from the FIFA Women’s World Cup, after a solid performance, Australia has a lot to celebrate.