Americans Baxter and Zilg win the London SUP Open in paddle boarding


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LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – The paddle boarding APP World Tour returned to London for the third time on Saturday as American Connor Baxter won the men’s sprint race and compatriot April Zilg won the women’s event .

Competitors battled it out in 250m sprints under sunny skies at Docklands Sailing & Watersports Center and world champion Baxter swept through the heats to reach the final where he edged Japan’s Rai Taguchi to extend his overall lead.

Zilg held off Spain’s Esperenza Barreras for her second consecutive victory while Denmark’s Caroline Kuntzel came third.

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Paddle boarding involves participants standing on a board propelling themselves forward with a paddle – also known as stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) – and has grown in popularity in recent years.

The sport evolved from surfing in Hawaii in the 1960s, with sprint and paddle surfing having been part of the APP World Tour since 2012.

APP World Tour is working with the International Surfing Federation to make paddle boarding an Olympic event following the sport’s debut at the Pan American Games in Lima three years ago.

The London SUP Open ends on Sunday with a 15.5km race on the River Thames before the athletes travel to Busan, South Korea next week for the third stop of the season.

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Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bangalore

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