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Bianca Buitendag: I gave it my best shot

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Bianca Buitendag was glad and overwhelmed after winning a silver medal in the surfing event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Silver medallist, Bianca Buitendag of South Africa wearing a protective face mask poses on the podium
Silver medallist, Bianca Buitendag of South Africa wearing a protective face mask poses on the podium. Picture: Lisi Niesner, Reuters

CAPE TOWN – Bianca Buitendag says she is a “bit overwhelmed” after clinching a silver medal in the first ever surfing competition at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old, who hails from Victoria Bay on the Garden Route, produced a number of remarkable performances to reach the final, where she lost out to American top seed and four-time world champion Carissa Moore for the gold medal.

Luck was not on Buitendag’s side in the final, with Moore being able to catch a few big waves that led to two scores of 7.33 and 7.60 for a total of 14.93, while the South African’s best mark was 5.23 in her last wave for a total of 8.46.

ALSO READ: Big waves elude Bianca Buitendag in Olympic final but she bags a silver medal

But she was still proud of her achievement afterwards, especially due to the tough conditions that resulted in choppy waters.

“It was six-foot messy! It was like a washing machine. But for the underdogs, it works in their favour because anything can happen. It just proves that anybody can (do it),” Buitendag said.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed, I must say! Today was a fight, out and out. Every time we’ve come out of the water after a heat, I told myself if I don’t collapse on the sand, then I didn’t try hard enough!

“I really felt like I gave it my best shot, and a lot of things aligned – and everyone’s divine intervention as well. A lot of things aligned for me to be able to, especially in conditions like this, to be able to make it through for a silver, I’m just so glad.”

Buitendag’s silver was the second of the day for Team South Africa, after Tatjana Schoenmaker finished second in the 100m breaststroke.

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