Kieren Lupish and Team Canada coaches celebrate his win. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Kieran Lupish struck gold in Japan recently.

The 16-year-old Vineland native earned a gold medal in the boys 15-16 category of double mini-trampoline at the 2019 Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in Tokyo.

The competition took place at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, the same venue that would also host the gymnastics competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and served as a test event and a qualifier for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

“I thought I could do well in it because I’ve done well before,” said Lupish, a Grade 11 student at Grimsby Secondary School. “I was second in Spain [at a previous competition] so I expected to do well again. This one had a lot more people so I was thinking I might not do as well, or maybe the same.

“I wasn’t sure how I would do but I had higher expectations than on the other events.”

Lupish admitted he did not have a good feeling after warming up.

“Honestly, it wasn’t a good day at first,” he said. “I was training really bad in the back gym. I was falling and I wasn’t landing anything and I couldn’t really do the mounts.”

Lupish then took a couple of turns on the trampoline he would compete on and felt much better.

“You’re allowed to warmup two touches and did both of my passes for finals and they both went well,” he said. “I just thought I had to do the same thing again and I went out there and did the same thing again. The one thing that really saved me was sticking. If I wouldn’t have stuck I would have came second. It was that close.”

Lupish recounted the final minutes of the competition as he watched a competitor attempt to beat his score.

“It was pretty crazy. I’ve experienced it before what it was like to be on the team, but winning was crazy,” the said.

“I was sitting there freaking out. I was in first place with one more guy to go and he was the guy who won the prelims. I was a little nervous and he had a higher score than me on his first pass than I did on mine. I saw him land thought it was going to be so close. They finally showed the score and I remember seeing the [number] 1 [next to my name] and I was freaking out.”

Lupish also competed on the trampoline, finishing 30th.

“It didn’t go quite as well as I hoped,” he said. “It’s a bigger pool because more countries do it. It’s a lot harder.”

He also placed “11th or 12th” in the synchronized component.

“We did decently well, considering the time we competed was the only time we competed together,” he said. “We were warming up and my partner had a little bit of back pain so we had to switch the routine up. He was in pain but when we got out there we said this is the only one we get and we did it and both finished.”

Lupish, who was accompanied to Japan by his parents, grandfather and great uncle, enjoyed the experience, even if he didn’t get a chance to see as much of the sights as he would have liked to.

“It was pretty cool. Japan is a very interesting country with a different culture. Being in a different culture makes it that much more interesting to compete,” he said. “There were a lot more fans so there was more cheering. It was interesting. You know you want to do some things. We were going to go to Tokyo Disney one night but knowing I had to compete the next morning I didn’t want to go walking around and get tired. Some stuff I wasn’t able to do but it was all right because it was worth it in the end.”

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