Some of the sport’s biggest names from past and present converged on the Gold Coast today to celebrate one year to go until the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 (LWC 2024).
The three-week event will start on 20 August, however 2022 World Ironman Champion Cory Taylor (New Zealand) 2022 World Beach Flags Champion Elizabeth Forsyth (Australia) will defend their crowns at Broadbeach in exactly one year’s time.
The pair were both on hand today at Kurrawa with Gold Coast-based international athletes Sara Tazaki (Japan) and Sash Corris-Nordengen to begin the countdown to next year’s event.
While many would regard Australia as the spiritual home of lifesaving, and the Gold Coast as the spiritual home of Australian surf sports, it is the first time since 1988 that the World Championships will be held on Queensland’s most famous stretch of sand.
On that occasion, 19-year-old Trevor Hendy wrote his name in the history books, claiming the first of six World Titles at the start of a glittering career.
Hendy was present at today’s celebration alongside fellow World Champion Karla Gilbert unlike Hendy never had the opportunity to win or defend her crown on the Gold Coast.
“It’s long overdue for the Lifesaving World Championships to return to the Gold Coast and we’re looking forward to delivering the most inclusive, inspiring and best-attended event in its history,” said Ron Rankin AM, LWC 2024 Chairman.
“With the support of the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast, we’re ready to welcome over 7000 athletes and officials from more than 50 countries to showcase excellence in lifesaving sports and rescue.
“The recent Women’s World Cup proved once again that Australia stages the best international sporting events on the planet and I can assure everyone that Surf Life Saving Queensland and the LWC 2024 Organising Committee are working tirelessly every day to make next year’s event the best ever.”
Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development Michael Healy said there’s no better place to host LWC 2024 than the iconic Gold Coast.
“The Gold Coast has a long and proud surf lifesaving history so it’s fantastic to see this world-class event, featuring thousands of athletes from around the globe, take place along this magnificent coastline.
“The event is expected to generate more than 120,000 visitor nights and more than $19 million for the local visitor economy, helping to support good Queensland tourism jobs.
“Queensland is the sports events capital of Australia and with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, the Palaszczuk Government is determined to attract even more events like this to further enhance that reputation.”
With the calendar moving to within a year of the event, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is excited to be bringing another major event to town.
“Switch on the countdown clock … it’s one year to go until the biggest lifesaving event on the globe hits the shores of the coast,” he said.
“The Lifesaving World Championships attracts the best-of-the-best – 7000 athletes, 12,000 supporters and the flags of 50 countries flying high from Kurrawa to the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre. I can’t wait.”
In an effort to deliver a more accessible event than ever before, LWC 2024 is offering a Developing Nations Assistance Program to 20 countries in order to help them attend the event. LWC 2024 encapsulates both beach and pool events, with competition taking place across the Masters, Interclub and National Teams categories.