Almagro as she celebrates her victory. Sean Evans
Marbella quadruple amputee crowned world parasurfing champion

Marbella quadruple amputee crowned world parasurfing champion

Sarah Almagro, who lost parts of all four limbs to meningitis when she was just 18, is now the champion of Spain, Europe and the world

Marina Rivas


Tuesday, 14 November 2023, 18:18


In a remarkable display of resilience and talent, Marbella's Sarah Almagro capped off an extraordinary year by adding a World Championship title to her Spanish and European crowns at the ISA World Parasurfing Championships held in Huntington Beach, California, at the weekend.

Known for her inspiring story of overcoming adversity, 23-year-old Almagro faced life-altering challenges at the age of 18 when meningitis led to the amputation of parts of all four limbs after a week-long coma.

Undeterred, she embraced a radical transformation, specialising in parasurfing, a discipline within adapted surfing.

Competing against 14 athletes from around the globe, including representatives from the United States, France, Australia, Hawaii and Brazil, Almagro, under the guidance of coaches Javier Donoso and Alejandro Almagro (Banana Team), dominated the prone 2 category.

With an impressive score of 17.17, she left her competitors trailing behind, with an Australian securing second place, a French athlete in third, and a Hawaiian in fourth.

The challenging competition took place under favourable weather conditions, with temperatures ranging from 10 to 25 degrees Celsius, albeit with a slight morning fog causing a delay in the initial rounds.

This victory serves as the crowning achievement for the young Marbella athlete, who this year also became European champion in Valdoviño (Coruña) in July and the Spanish champion in Nigrán (Pontevedra) at the end of October.

Olympic ambitions

Beyond her demanding schedule, Sarah continues to harbour ambitions of competing in the Olympics, the ultimate aspiration for any athlete. However, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is yet to decide on the inclusion of parasurfing as a Paralympic sport. That said, a decision is expected by the end of the year.

Parasurfing, primarily considered a therapeutic pursuit in the early days, has evolved into a highly competitive sport, with the ISA classifying an additional 60 athletes between 2022 and 2023, bringing the total number of parasurfers worldwide to 302.

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