Writer: Joanne Ward-Jerret
With the 2018 World Junior Slalom C1 title, along with back-to-back European titles in C1 and K1 under his belt, Spanish paddler Miquel Travé is fresh off a history-making season on the water. But it is his humility and sportsmanship in the face of a disappointing decision by the World Paddle Awards (WPA) that make him a true champion.
For a number of reasons which had nothing to do with his results, Miquel did not make the cut for the 2018 World Paddle Awards nominations in the Junior category. “There are more than 15 paddlesport disciplines and hundreds of people we can nominate each year, so we always face some tough choices,” explains WPA president Rob van Bommel. “This year we nominated nine juniors, of which three are in Slalom. Because it was a ‘special’ year with the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, we felt it was important to nominate some of the juniors there, so we ended up with two of the three Slalom nominations from those Games.”
In his communications with Miquel, van Bommel explained the rationale behind his exclusion from the list, pointing out that one of the key WPA objectives is to show the diversity in the world of paddlesports.
Miquel’s response, in which he graciously accepted the WPA’s decision - even though it did not seem fair - made a deep impression on van Bommel and the WPA Academy. “Not being nominated - or not winning the final award - can be very emotional for athletes, for whom the nomination is considered a huge achievement. In his acceptance of the decision, Miquel, at only 17 years of age, has shown more sportsmanship and grace than anyone else in his position over the years. In so doing, we truly believe he has transcended his 2018 results (two European and one World Championship).”
In recognition of his sportsmanship, Miquel has been awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Academy of Paddlesports.
Richard Fox, WPA Academy member and 10x World Champion, Canoe Slalom
“Miquel Travé’s humility and sportsmanship are outstanding. I am honored to sign this certificate of appreciation on behalf of the Academy of Paddlesports.”