A STUDENT has been crowned Colombian Paragliding Champion after beating the world’s best during seven days of competition.
Juan Ospina Restrepo, who is in his second year of studying television production at the University of Brighton’s Hastings campus, competed in the Colombian town of Roldanillo against 130 pilots from 21 countries and his success has now qualified him for World Cup events for 2013 and 2014.
Originally from Colombia, Juan settled in the UK five years ago and has been paragliding for nine years, competing in the British Open and contests around the world.
Pilots tackle cross-country routes from 40 to 130km, going through turn points before reaching a ‘goal’ or finish line.
Juan, who is on a sports scholarship at the University of Brighton, praised the university for helping him.
He said: “From the beginning of my course, the university has been really supportive, providing me with gym facilities, a training programme, plus academic and financial support. I am now looking for sponsorship and my aim is to mix my TV career with my passion for paragliding.
“I’m so happy with my success in Colombia – this has been one of my dreams come true.”
Sarah Hogg, the university’s head of sport and recreation, said: “The university’s sports scholarship scheme caters for a wide range of sports and helps many student athletes achieve their academic and sporting aspirations.
“It’s always great to hear when one of our scholars is successful and I’m really pleased that our support for Juan has helped him to achieve one of his sporting goals and beat the best in the world to this title.”
Joanna MacDonnell, course leader for FdA Broadcast Media and FdA TV Production at the university’s Faculty of Arts, said: “I am delighted to hear of Juan’s triumph and hope that in the future his skills and ability in television production can be combined with his sporting achievements.”