Great Britain’s Paracanoe athletes made a confident start as the racing season got underway in Szeged, Hungary today, with almost 90 athletes from 20 nations taking part in the ICF Paracanoe World Cup.
Grand Slam Champion, Emma Wiggs, gave an impressive performance in the women’s KL2 to set off a flurry of firsts for GB in the kayak heats, to progress directly through to final on Saturday. She was swiftly followed by teammate Charlotte Henshaw winning the second heat of the women’s KL2 and then matched by Birmingham’s Rob Oliver and Jonny Young in their respective heats of the men’s KL3.
Also showing early season form was Paralympic Bronze medallist Nick Beighton, who finished second in his heat to also go straight through to the final in the men’s KL2.
Delighted with her heat performance Emma Wiggs said:
It was really nice to get out on the course and get racing, the course is phenomenal and it’s brilliant to be in the spiritual home of canoeing.– Emma Wiggs, 2016/2017 Grand Slam Champion
The multiple World Champion added: “It’s been a really tough year, with a hard winter, so we’re really looking to peak towards the end of the year. This is a great stepping stone to give us an idea how much the brutal winter has made a difference.”
There will be finals tomorrow in all three men’s kayak classifications with Ian Marsden in the KL1, Nick Beighton KL2 and both Rob Oliver and Jonny Young in the KL3.
With the va’a outrigger canoe added to the programme for Tokyo 2020, Great Britain also fielded two entries in the men’s VL3 class today. David Phillipson made an impressive international debut finishing second in his heat to qualify for the final on Saturday, whilst Jack Eyers finished sixth to go out in the semifinal.
2016 Paralympic gold medallists in kayak, Emma Wiggs and Jeanette Chippington will also be racing in the va’a competition tomorrow in the women’s VL2.
Emma Wiggs (Independent) Women’s KL2 – Heats 1st & direct to Final on Saturday
Charlotte Henshaw (Independent) Women’s KL2 – Heats 1st & direct to Final on Saturday
Nick Beighton (Help for Heroes) Men’s KL2 – Heats 2nd & direct to final on Friday
Robert Oliver (Solihull) Men’s KL3 – Heats 1st and direct to Final on Friday
Jonathan Young (Canoe Northern Ireland) Men’s KL3 – Heats 1st & direct to Final on Friday
David Phillipson (Independent) VL3 – Heats 2nd & direct to Final on Saturday
Jack Eyers (Independent) VL3 – Semifinal 6th