Following an outstanding start to the season at the Paracanoe World Cup in Szeged last month, Great Britain’s Paracanoe squad are travelling to Belgrade, Serbia this week for the European Championships.
Starting on Saturday 9 June, the nine-strong team will be facing Europe’s best paddlers, all bidding to claim the coveted European Champion title over two days of racing.
Emma Wiggs and Jeanette Chippington both hold the incredible titles of ‘Paracanoe Grand Slam’ champions, holding Paralympic, European and World titles across the 2016/2017 year and both paddlers would love to keep their hugely impressive records intact.
Wiggs looked in formidable form in Szeged powering to gold in both the women’s KL2 and the new Olympic class of VL2 and only GB teammate Charlotte Henshaw, who transferred from para-swimming last year and took World Cup silver, looks capable of upsetting the applecart.
Speaking ahead of the Championships, the five time European medallist Emma Wiggs said: “It’s always an honour to pull on a vest for Great Britain and this European Championships is no different. I’m excited to get out there and race on a new course and experience another international.
We are in a heavy training block right now, so I’m just aiming to deliver solid technical runs and learn more about the challenges of racing in both boats again.– Emma Wiggs
New face on the team for 2018, Dave Phillipson enjoyed his debut experience in Szeged, winning bronze in the VL3 classification. The 28-year-old who lives in Nottingham said: “I’m really excited and pleased to be racing for my country again. I’m just going to go out there and perform like I did in the World Cup. I just want to perform well, but I would be delighted if I could win a bronze medal again, if not better.”
Solihull’s Robert Oliver is also looking forward to getting back in competitive action after a strong World Cup, finishing fourth in a top quality field.
I'm pushing hard at the moment and I will be training right up to the heats to optimise the performance at the World Championships in August. But I really do want to try and make it three medals in the last three European Championships I have attended.– Robert Oliver
Four-time European medallist in KL1, Ian Marsden from Stoke-on-Trent will also be aiming to keep up his strong track record of success at European level, along with Nick Beighton in the men’s KL2 who took bronze at last year’s edition of the Championships.