MOSSEL BAY SPORT NEWS - Mossel Bay surf coach Llewellyn Whitaker is set for the Tokyo Olympics, commencing 25 July, in his role as head coach for the German Surf Federation.
Surfing will be featured for the first time as an Olympic sport and Whittaker is planning for a medal-yielding debut for his star athletes.
The Olympic dream marks the high-tide line of Whittaker's surf coaching career. It validates a long, winding road traversed, from Whitaker's youth as a surf-stoked "soutie" attending Point High School, to young, aspiring international professional surfer, to inspiring the next generation of Olympian athletes.
Whittaker's drive, dedication and heart have been the constant current running through each career phase, with his most exciting chapter now about to unfold.
The Olympic breakthrough came via the scintillating performance of German national surfer, Leon Glatzer, at the recent International Surfing Association (ISA) World Games in El Salvador.
Glatzer, who has been working closely with Whittaker for the past three years towards the goal of Olympic qualification, attained the highest two-wave heat total of the entire competition, clinching one of the final five qualifying slots for the Olympic Games.
There will be 40 athletes from 17 countries competing for surfing's inaugural Olympic medals, at Tsurigasaki Beach, in Chiba, from 25 July to 1 August.
Whittaker and Glatzer are elated at their now-confirmed shot at Olympic gold, after concluding a pact together on 2 July 2018, to commit to qualifying for, and competing in the Olympics.
Their coach/athlete partnership, along with the rest of the German National Surf team, has flourished over the past three years.
While Whittaker has been an influential coach to several promising South African talents, the waning local surf industry and challenging exchange rate has damped international opportunities for many South African-based prospects.
The German Surf Federation (Deutsche Wellenreitverband) had set a three-year goal of having German surfers qualify for the Olympics, with Whittaker playing a growing, professional role in Germany's recent rise up the world surfing rankings – to 12th in the world in 2019, and within the top three European nations, despite facing mostly lacklustre surfing conditions.
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