Great Britain’s Paracanoe athletes collected a further four medals on their final day of the World Cup 1 in Szeged, Hungary, wrapping up the event with a total haul of six medals.
Grand Slam champion, Emma Wiggs, produced her second gold of the competition in the women’s KL2 200m final, with Britain’s Charlotte Henshaw chasing close behind her in second. In the process both athletes bettered their PBs by over a second.
Their team mate, the vastly experienced Grand Slam champion, Jeanette Chippington, added a bronze to the silver she won yesterday, this time in the women’s KL1 200m final.
GB’s David Phillipson concluded what can only be described as a highly successful international debut by winning bronze in the men’s VL3 200m final.
Not normally one to be lost for words, Wiggs admitted to being “overwhelmed” by today’s KL2W 200 final, not just for her own well executed race in swirly conditions but for her team mate Henshaw’s too.
“I’m super proud of the way we both dealt with a big wind and waves,” said Wiggs, delighted that for the first time two GB paddlers had broken the 50 second barrier.
Wiggs stopped the clock at 48.423 seconds, whilst Henshaw finished in 49.118. The gap to the third placed athlete was almost four seconds.
Charlotte’s made huge gains over the winter and it’s brilliant to have her alongside. I hope and think we can push each other all the way onto that plane to Tokyo (2020 Paralympics)– Emma Wiggs
“The one thing we know is that whichever one of us gets there in the end will be fast because we’ve got the other one pushing them along. So we’re very lucky in the squad to have such depth.”
Considering this weekend was seen as an early “training” race following a hard winter, it shows that much progress has been made in the GB camp.
“This is really early for us which is why we decided to make it a training week,” Wiggs continued. “It was a bit of an unknown because it’s early and we haven’t really worked on the second half of a race.
“To come away with two golds is brilliant. It was unexpected but it’s even more exciting to know we have more to come.”
Henshaw switched from swimming to canoeing following the Rio Paralympic Games and has made rapid progress.
Part of the reason why, she explains, is training with the world’s best athletes day in day out at British Canoeing’s sprint base in Nottingham.
“It’s really good for me to learn from Emma who’s the best in the business and it’s a real privilege for me to be lining up on the start line with her,” said Henshaw.
“Every time I race at home in Nottingham I’m lining up against the best paddlers; Niki (Paterson) is current Worlds silver medallist and Emma has done all the amazing things she has.
You have to be racing the best in the world to be the best and that’s where we have real strength in British Canoeing. Every competition is one where we can really test ourselves with word class paddlers– Charlotte Henshaw
Another athlete successfully making the transition to canoeing since the Rio Games is three times Paralympic tennis player, David Phillipson, who began the programme with British Canoeing last season in kayak but has since switched to the va’a outrigger canoe which has been added to the programme for Tokyo 2020.
Today Phillipson completed his international debut with a third place in the men’s VL3 A final, impressively holding off a challenge on the line by New Zealand’s Scott Martlew.
“I saw him creeping back and I thought, no I’m going to hold you off,” said Phillipson.
It’s brilliant to win a medal and it shows I’ve improved massively. Obviously the va’a is a new boat for me and I haven’t spent that much time in it, but I think I’ve transitioned quite well– David Phillipson
“It was a really tough winter training but I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the sport and improved massively. There are still loads of areas to improve on which is great.”
Chippington admitted to being caught out by the windy conditions in the opening 100m of her final but adjusted in the second half and finished third.
“I’m still quite positive because I know I could have done better certainly in the first 100 and it was so close between first and ninth. And I never underestimate any colour of medal,” she said.
I’m quite pleased with the weekend and, considering the winter which went on and on, we only had one good week coming into this I’m pleased with the times– Jeanette Chippington
“There’s still a bit of work to do and hopefully we can get good weather and more speedwork.”
The pair’s main focus this season has been on the men’s K4 500m and they decided to include the K2 for team building.
“Throughout the winter we kept going hard in K2s to glue the people together a bit better and improve our K4, which is the Olympic event, but then we also started doing quite well in the K2,” said 23-year-old Naftanaila, who with Thomson later teamed up with Ieuan James and Noah Dembele for the K4 heats.
The K4 is still an under 23 boat so it will be good to hopefully get a good result here and then get ready for the under 23 season– Stelian Naftanaila
Having gone on to qualify from their heat today the K4 500m under 23 boat will find themselves in the same semi final as the GB senior boat of Liam Heath, Jon Schofield, Lewis Fletcher and Matthew Robinson on Sunday.
Also in action today, Britain’s Chris Carson and Andras Kovacs concluded their senior World Cup debut eighth in the men’s K2 500m.
Tom Lusty finished third in the men’s Olympic distance K1 1000m B final, whilst Jon Boyton came ninth in the same race.
Two GB boats competed in the B Finals of the women’s C2 500m event, Nia Tomos and Katie Reid finishing fifth, with Bethany Gill and Chloe Bracewell finishing one place behind.
The Sprint competition concludes tomorrow.
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Saturday results summary
Emma Wiggs (Independent) Women’s KL2 – A Final 1st GOLD
Charlotte Henshaw (Independent) Women’s KL2 – A Final 2nd SILVER
Jeanette Chippington (Longridge) - Women’s VL2 – A Final 3rd BRONZE
David Phillipson (Independent) VL3 – A Final 3rd BRONZE
Men’s K1 200m – Jon Schofield (Soar Valley) – Heats 4th, to semi final Sunday
Men’s K1 200m – Lewis Fletcher (Linlithgow) – Heats 1st, to semi final Sunday
Men’s K1 500m – Matthew Bowley (Burton Phoenix) Heats 5th, to C Final Sunday
Men’s K1 1000m - Tom Lusty (Solihull) – Semi final 4th, B Final 3rd
Men's K1 1000m - Jonathan Boyton (Royal) – Semi final 5th, B Final 9th
Men’s K2 200m - Trevor Thomson (Ealing) & Stelian Naftanaila (Nottingham) – A Final 4th
Men's K2 500m - Chris Carson (Wey) & Andras Kovacs (Wey) - Semi final 6th, B Final 8th
Men’s K4 500m – Liam Heath (Wey) Jon Schofield (Soar Valley), Lewis Fletcher (Linlithgow), Matthew Robinson (Cardiff) – Heats 5th, to semi final Sunday
Men’s K4 500m – Stelian Naftanaila (Nottingham), Trevor Thomson (Ealing), Ieuan James (Forth), Noah Dembele (Leaside) – Heats 6th, to semi final Sunday
Women’s K1 200m – Jess Walker (Royal) – Heats 3rd, to semi final Sunday
Women’s K1 200m – Rachel Cawthorn (Wey) – Heats 3rd, to semi final Sunday
Women’s K1 500m - Rebii Simon (Elmbridge) - Semi final 4th B Final 3rd
Women’s K4 500m – Deborah Kerr (Strathclyde), Hannah Brown (Bradford-on-Avon), Emily Lewis (Worcester), Amy Turner (Banbury) - Heats 4th, to semi final Sunday
Women’s C1 200m – Katie Reid (Holme Pierrepont CC) – Heats 3rd, to semi final on Sunday
Women’s C1 200m – Chloe Bracewell (Holme Pierrepont CC) – Heats 2rd, to semi final on Sunday
Women’s C2 500m - Nia Tomos (Holme Pierrepont CC) / Katie Reid (Holme Pierrepont CC) B Final 5th
Women’s C2 500m – Chloe Bracewell (Holme Pierrepont CC) / Bethany Gill (Holme Pierrepont CC) B Final 6th