South Africa’s Cameron Tripney thanked his father for donating him part of his hamstring and Italy’s Cecilia Pampinella paid tribute to her late aunt as they celebrated becoming junior ICF stand up paddling world champions in Gdynia, Poland, on Thursday.

18-year-old Tripney was a surprise winner of the men’s ICF SUP junior sprint title, one year after undergoing a knee reconstruction that required his father, who was on hand to cheer his son to gold, to donate part of his own hamstring for the operation.

The Cape Town athlete turned heads after a slashing first heat win, and then continued to impress on his way to a dominant gold medal victory at his very first world championships.

“Leading up to this event I really had no idea where I was going to be, my first international event,” Tripney said.

“When the finals came, I just had a moment to myself, where I thought ‘this is it, this is everything I’ve worked for’, and I knew when I looked to the side and I could see no-one that this was it.

“I always knew I had the potential to do well, I just didn’t know how well. I just stayed in my own bubble and performed as best I could. I started paddling when I was seven, and it’s almost been paddling 24/7 since then. It’s been hard, but it’s all paid off.”

Japan’s Sota Iwai was more than one second behind in the silver medal position, while France’s Vaic Garioud took the bronze.

Cecilia Pampinella also impressed throughout Thursday’s racing, dominating the early rounds of the women’s junior races before storming to gold by more than three seconds.

The Italian teenager, who has still has two more years of racing as a junior, was the only athlete to post a time under one minute. After her win she paid tribute to an aunt who passed away one month ago.

“I want to dedicate this to my Aunt who is no longer with us,” Pampinella said.

“All the other girls are strong, so I really pushed a lot. I’m really proud of myself and the result I got. This means everything, because I’ve trained a lot to arrive here.”

Germany’s Skadi Langbein took silver, and Spain’s Sonia Caimari the bronze.

Pics by Georgia Schofield

Italy Cecilia Pampinella SUP Gdynia 2022

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