Siqi Yang: the first Chinese surfer to qualify for the Olympic Games

Siqi Yang is the first Chinese surfer to qualify for the Olympic Games. The 15-year-old will represent her country in Paris 2024 at Teahupoo.

It's China's best-ever result in an official international surfing competition.

Yang finished the 2024 ISA World Surfing Games in 15th place among over 110 female surfers and secured a historical Olympic ticket.

But the remarkable story of Siqi goes back to 2022.

In a surprising turn of events, China started emerging as a rising force in the world of surfing at the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach, California.

The youthful Chinese surfers, led by the then 13-year-old sensation Yang Siqi, shattered expectations and captured the attention of international media.

Traditionally, surfing powerhouses such as Brazil, Australia, the USA, and Japan have dominated the scene.

However, China's remarkable performance at the ISA World Surfing Games signals a potential shift in the sport's landscape.

At the time, Yang, the youngest member of the Chinese team, etched her name in history by reaching the fifth repechage round, finishing an impressive 29th.

Under the guidance of South African coach Wade Sharp, the Chinese team formed in 2018 and showed exceptional dedication and progress in a short period.

Sharp, who previously coached Team Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, saw immense potential in the Chinese surfers, predicting future success on the global stage.

"They're very dedicated to their sports, and they take their training seriously," Sharp told the Olympic channel.

"I think a few years down the road, you're going to see China right up in the top earning medals, just like all the other countries."

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited their training opportunities abroad, the Chinese surfers displayed remarkable adaptability.

Siqi Yang started surfing in 2018 when she was just nine years old.

"I was so scared about it at the very beginning, but after getting through that period, surfing has made me pretty happy."

Siqi's dedication and fearlessness in competition caught the eye of Coach Sharp, who noted she has a "super rad future."

In 2022, China's surfing head coach Wang Xiaofei set its sights on the long-term goal of making a mark at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

"Our goal for LA 2028 will be ranking into the top 8 of the Olympic Games," he stated at the time.

Siqi Yang: one of the standouts of the 2024 ISA World Surfing Games | Photo: ISA

A Stellar Performance in Margara

However, the Chinese surfing dreams arrived a bit earlier, and the Asian nation will be represented in Tahiti's Teahupoo.

The year 2023 was a rehearsal for the upcoming surprise with a 31st finish at the ISA World Surfing Games among more than 120 women surfers.

In 2024, 15-year-old Siqi Yang stepped up her game.

In Round 2 of the World Surfing Games, the Chinese wonder kid beat two-time WSL champion and two-time ISA World Junior champion Tyler Wright.

Yang excelled in the waves of Puerto Rico's Margara with a powerful performance and one of the best single turns of the day.

"This is my first time surfing Margara," the young Chinese gun said.

"Before the event, it was totally flat, so we were surfing El Pico. This wave is amazing, and I just went with the flow."

"For me, I just keep a low profile to try and learn from the experience of surfing with a two-time world champion. Puerto Rico is beautiful. The waves are amazing."

Yang progressed through to Women's Repechage Round 7, where she was able to validate the ticket to the Summer Olympics in Tahiti.

"The Olympic dream is my dream, to qualify for the Olympics," concluded Yang.

"I'm super happy, super excited to accomplish this today. Thanks to my country for supporting me in getting here and to my coach for bringing me to this level. I'm so happy. I've been training so hard for this."

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