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Costa Rica to host 2016 World Surfing Games

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced that this years’ edition of its World Surfing Games will be staged in Costa Rica, whose national team won the competition in Nicaragua last year.

The event will take place in the town of Jacó from August 6-14. Costa Rica last staged the Games in 2009, when the competition was hosted in nearby Playa Hermosa.

This year’s Olympic-style team event will feature national teams from around the world, each of which will consist of up to four men and two women. Surfers will compete for individual medals and the World Team Champion Trophy. Costa Rica will be bidding to be the first team to win consecutive titles for the first time since Australia achieved the feat in 2008.

Costa Rica is well known as a popular destination for surfers, with the country’s Institute of Tourism reporting that in 2013, more than 200,000 people visited Costa Rica to surf, leading to an economic impact of $300m (€263.5m).

Costa Rica’s World Surfing Games will come shortly after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) makes its decision on whether the sport will feature on the programme for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Surfing has been recommended for inclusion by Tokyo 2020, but the final decision will be made at the IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Fernando Aguerre, president of the ISA, said: “Surfing is an integral and vibrant part of Costa Rican culture and the performance of their athletes at an international level attests to this. With Team Costa Rica defending their title in their home waves and the pending Olympic announcement, this event has all the elements to be a monumental milestone for surfing.”