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History of our sport

Paracanoe is a fairly recent sport; the first ever Paracanoe World Championships took place in 2010 and the sport made its first time appearance at the Paralympics in Rio 2016.

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The International Canoe Federation (ICF) launched the Paracanoe Development Programme to expand canoeing to the worldwide community of people with a disability and to target the inclusion of Paracanoeing in the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Prior to this time canoeing for people with a disability had been limited to a handful of Paddle-ability regattas at both National and International level.


2010 saw the introduction of the first ever official Paracanoe World Championships in conjunction with the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Poznan, Poland. 28 National Federations from five continents competed, leading to the confirmation that Paracanoe would gain inclusion into the 2016 Paralympics. This World Championships saw the modest start of GB’s account with a single Bronze medal won by Jonathon Broome, setting a precedent for future success.


The further expansion of Paracanoe was evident, with nearly 70 competitors at the World Championships in Szeged. With the confirmation of Paralympic status, both the level of participation and performance increased significantly. Once again Canada and Brazil led the medal table. GB stepped up its game with a Gold medal from Patrick Mahoney in the Men’s V1 200m LTA category as well as a Bronze medal from Dan Hopwood in the Men’s V1 200m TA category, a very strong result racing up a classification. This left GBR in a much improved equal 3rd overall with Hungary and a significant improvement from the previous year. Patrick Mahoney also went on to be named Paracanoe Athlete of the year by the ICF.

2011 also saw the formation of a GB Paracanoe Programme. This was to be led by the new Programme Manager, Steve Harris, who had transferred across from the Olympic Programme to commence an exciting new project with the aim of leading the World of Paracanoe to Rio 2016. The programme was bolstered by three Paracanoe Development Coaches keen to succeed in this accomplishment and commenced with a series of Talent Identification days in October 2011, followed by a number of rigorous training camps through to 2012 selection.


The Paracanoe World Championships returned to Poznan, Great Britain dominated proceedings leading the medal table with five Gold medals and one Bronze. The undisputed star of the show was Jeanette Chippington, a product of the new programme’s talent ID and a previous Paralympic swimmer, winning three Golds despite competing above her classification. Nick Heald, another product of the talent ID programme, proved just as much of a powerhouse winning Gold in the V1 Men TA. Dan Hopwood, now competing in his own classification, turned his previous years Bronze into Gold in the K1 Men A. Pat Mahoney took Bronze in a very competitive V1 Men LTA category completing a very good Championship medal haul.