AUSSIE, OI: Stephanie Gilmore defeated Lakey Peterson in the final of the Oi Rio Pro 2018 in Saquarema, Brazil.
AUSSIE, OI: Stephanie Gilmore defeated Lakey Peterson in the final of the Oi Rio Pro 2018 in Saquarema, Brazil. WSL / DAMIEN POULLENOT

Gilmore tightens title grip after Rio win

MURWILLUMBAH'S six-time surfing world champion Stephanie Gilmore has inched her way closer to a seventh world crown after she took out the Oi Rio Women's Pro in Saquarema, Brazil yesterday.

Gilmore, 30, defeated world number 2 and main title rival in American Lakey Peterson to firm her grip on the Jeep Leader's Jersey heading into the fifth tour event of 2018 later this month in Bali.

Stephanie Gilmore's win in Rio was her second WSL title in 2018, her first coming at Bells Beach.
Stephanie Gilmore's win in Rio was her second WSL title in 2018, her first coming at Bells Beach. WSL / DAMIEN POULLENOT

To reach the final Gilmore overcame compatriot and world number 8 Nikki Van Dijk in the semi. From there, any doubt that lingered over whether Gilmore's competitive spirit was on the wane since her last world championship victory in 2014 was quashed.

Unfortunately for Gilmore's father Geoff, who was watching along at home, he nodded off to sleep during the quarter finals. It wasn't until he was making a cuppa that his wife disclosed their daughter had claimed her second win of the season after her first at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Mr Gilmore said he wasn't surprised by Stephanie's return to the top of the world rankings this year and was thrilled to be watching that uncompromising determination that won her six world championships between 2007-14.

"I'm excited by (Stephanie's form). I still think she has the ability to win. I'm not surprised but I am so happy to think that she is carrying this level of determination,” said Mr Gilmore.

Mr Gilmore also alluded the added motivation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics-where surfing will make its long awaited debut-that might be spurring Stephanie on.

"She is excited about the Olympics. I think that's in her mind. There are plenty of talented young girls out there.”

Stephanie Gilmore during heat three of the Oi Rio Pro at Itana Beach, Saquarema, Brazil.
Stephanie Gilmore during heat three of the Oi Rio Pro at Itana Beach, Saquarema, Brazil. WSL / DAMIEN POULLENOT


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