(Australian Associated Press)
Brandon Loupos has won his first BMX freestyle world title and compatriot Logan Martin was second, confirming Australia’s strong medal claims for the Tokyo Olympics.
Freestyle will make its Olympic debut next year and Loupos and Martin loom as two of the top favourites.
Martin won the world title two years ago and Loupos was last year’s bronze medallist.
Natalya Diehm finished sixth in a strong worlds debut, putting Australia a step closer to Olympic qualification in the women’s event.
Loupos made a disastrous start to Sunday’s final in Chengdu, China when he crashed during his first run.
But the 26-year-old from Sydney had an outstanding second run to snare the gold medal.
“It (the world champion’s rainbow jersey) has been my phone background for 365 days, now it is on my chest,” Loupos said.
“I can’t believe it. I am absolutely speechless.”
Logan’s hopes of reclaiming the world title were hit when he suffered a flat tyre during his second run in the final, but he had done enough to secure silver.