The junior finals took place today at the ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships in Columbus ©ICF

Germany’s Tim Rees became the first man to successfully defend a junior freestyle world title at the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Freestyle World Championships as he dominated the K1 event in Columbus, Georgia.

He revealed afterwards that he had prepared for his defence by spending three months in Canada, where he trained and practised new moves.

Rees finished on 963.33 points, more than 400 clear of second-placed Onnie Eronen, who secured Finland's first Championship medal with a total of 533.33.

Bronze went to Great Britain's Timmy Hill thanks to an inspired final ride which secured him a total of 498.33.

"It feels pretty great to break a record, there are some pretty big names in the game who didn’t make it, so it feels pretty great to be the first person to do it," Rees said.

"I knew that at the beginning of the season I was quite far behind in waveboating, because we don’t have any waves in Germany, but I’m pretty stoked that I could catch all the other athletes.

"I came to Canada, I could barely airscrew, I could barely PanAm, and to throw all those tricks in one ride, I’m pretty happy with it."

Eronen, who was initially unaware of his historic achievement, commented: "I’ve been told after my ride several times now that I am the first Finnish medallist ever.

"It feels amazing, finally bringing Finland to the world stage.

"It feels incredible, for me to be such a special part of history.

Great Britain’s defending champion Ottilie Robinson-Shaw was top qualifier for tomorrow's women's K1 semi-finals ©Getty Images
Great Britain’s defending champion Ottilie Robinson-Shaw was top qualifier for tomorrow's women's K1 semi-finals ©Getty Images

"I hope there’s going to be several more joining me in the history books as Finnish medallists."

Meanwhile home spectators were able to cheer on a local heroine in the form of Makinley Kate Hargrove, who won her first junior world title in the women’s K1.

Hargrove, 16, won bronze at last year's World Championships in Nottingham, but in front of her home crowd she looked in control of this year’s final.

"I’m super excited to come out here in my hometown and show people what my homewave has to offer," said Hargrove, who scored 251.67.

"It definitely made me a little nervous, but before the competition I was just smiling with my friends, I was so excited to have everyone here."

Silver went to Canada’s Sophie Gilfillan on 231.67, with another home athlete, Eleanor Knight, taking bronze on 136.67.

The last day of competition tomorrow will feature the semi-finals and finals of the men's and women's K1 events.

Great Britain's Ottilie Robinson-Shaw, who has already secured one gold medal at these Championships, is making a strong defence of her K1 title, having posted the highest qualifying score in the women’s kayak quarter-finals.

The defending world champion finished with 1070 points, 400 points clear of 2019 world champion Hitomi Takaku from Japan, and 2015 junior world champion sage Donnelly of the United States.

It was a similar story in the men’s quarter finals, with four-time world champion Dane Jackson finishing more than 400 points clear of local hope Mason Hargrove.