World Surf League Championship Tour professional Kanoa Igarashi said Monday he aims to surf for Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“My family and relatives are Japanese. I want to show everyone (that I’m a representative of Japan),” said Igarashi, who is a dual citizen of Japan and the United States but was born and raised in California.
“My goal is Olympic gold. I’m preparing for that now.”
The 20-year-old is currently in talks about how to go about surfing for Japan when the sport makes its Olympic debut in 2020.
Igarashi emerged as a talented amateur and was promoted to the Championship Tour as an American in 2016. He is currently 17th on tour, while Hiroto Ohara, the highest-ranked Japanese male, is 39th.
Eighteen surfers — 10 men and eight women — will earn spots through their Championship Tour rankings, while Japan as host nation will get one automatic berth in each of the 20-surfer draws.
The remaining slots will be allocated based on the results at the 2019 and 2020 World Surfing Games and other competitions.
The competition at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba Prefecture will run for two days.