Brazil's first surfing world champion Gabriel Medina honoured in Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo, Jan 20 (IANS/EFE)
Brazil's Gabriel Medina was honoured here for winning the 2014 Association of Surfing Professionals' World Tour, with Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin comparing him to other sporting legends such as Formula One legend Ayrton Senna and swimmer Cesar Cielo. "I'm happy for fulfilling one of my dreams," the 21-year-old Medina Monday said after receiving Sao Paulo state's medal for sporting merit for his 2014 title, which he clinched at the final competition Dec 19 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Alckmin paid tribute to Medina - a native of the coastal town of Sao Sebastiao, Sao Paulo state, home to the popular surf spot of Maresias beach - in a ceremony at the Palacio dos Bandeirantes, the governor's official residence.
Maresias hosts one of the events on the ASP's qualifying series, which serves as a springboard for surfers trying to compete on the men's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour that Medina won last year.
The governor mentioned Medina in the same breath with other champions from Sao Paulo state such as Cielo, winner of swimming gold in the 50-metre freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and three-time Formula One drivers' champion Ayrton Senna.
"The purpose of the medal for sporting merit is to honour foreign or Brazilian athletes who have made a contribution to sport," the governor said, adding that Medina's feat will inspire other young people in Sao Paulo state to become athletes.
Medina, who was accompanied by his mother, Simone, a former surfer, and his stepfather and coach, Charles Rodrigues, said he will face less pressure but have "greater responsibility" in 2015.