Eight paracanoeists have today been selected as part of the ParalympicsGB team set to compete at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games.
Defending champions Jeanette Chippington and Emma Wiggs and Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ian Marsden will be joined by Charlotte Henshaw, Laura Sugar, Rob Oliver, Dave Phillipson and Paralympic debutant Stuart Wood in Japan in August.
Five members of the Tokyo 2020 paracanoe squad have transferred from other sports - for 12-time Paralympic medallist Chippington, who made her debut for the British team at Seoul 1988 as a swimmer, Tokyo 2020 will be her seventh Games.
Jeanette Chippington said: “I still can’t believe I have been selected for my seventh Paralympic Games - but the excitement is still the same as if it was my first. I feel so proud and honoured to be representing Great Britain again at what I am sure will be a fantastic Games.”
Emma Wiggs meanwhile began her Paralympic career in sitting volleyball, switching to paracanoe after London 2012. The 40-year-old will look to defend her KL2 title in Tokyo, while also competing in the VL2 event, which makes its debut at these Games.
Charlotte Henshaw, Laura Sugar and Dave Phillipson have also pulled on the ParalympicsGB vest at previous Games in different sports – former swimmer Henshaw won silver and bronze at London 2012 and Rio 2016 respectively, Sugar lined up in the Para athletics sprints at Rio and Phillipson was part of the wheelchair tennis squad at the previous three summer Games.
While Tokyo 2020 will be Stuart Wood's first Paralympic Games, the 27-year-old is thrilled to be part of the team after a competitive selection process.
“I’m really happy to have been selected after tight racing and a really tough year for everyone,” said Wood.
“My last race was the test event in Tokyo and it feels like such a long time since we’ve raced, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and racing internationally again on the biggest stage.”
ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe said:
“I’m absolutely delighted to welcome such an experienced and talented group of athletes to the ParalympicsGB team. All eight athletes have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are today and that commitment and hard work will I believe pay dividends in Tokyo in just under 80 days’ time.”
Great Britain topped the Paracanoe medal table at Rio 2016 as the sport made its Games debut and this time around Head Coach Scott Simon believes his squad are as strong as ever:
“I have great pride in seeing our athletes nominated to ParalympicsGB today. It’s been a long and unprecedented five years and I have seen our athletes and staff mature, develop and overcome challenges to create the largest national Paracanoe contingent at these historic Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“I’m privileged to lead this team as part of ParalympicsGB and represent all who have supported our athletes in their ambition.”