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First Paralympic quota place secured for GB on day one of Para-Canoe World Championships

on 20-08-2015 09:22

It was a fabulous start for Great Britain today when Emma Wiggs retained her Paracanoe World Championship title in the women’s KL2 kayak event in Milan. In so doing, she secured the nation’s first Paralympic quota place ensuring GB will be in the hunt for medals when the sport makes its debut at the Games in Rio next year.

However, she was pushed all the way to the line by British teammate Nikki Paterson, who made it a one-two for Great Britain, collecting silver on her World Championship debut.

 “Today was all about qualifying a Great Britain boat for Rio, so it’s not about individual performances.” Emma Wiggs 

An ecstatic Emma Wiggs said: “Today was all about qualifying a Great Britain boat for Rio, so it’s not about individual performances,” said Wiggs.

“But I’m absolutely delighted with my performance and my teammate Nikki came in a fraction behind me for second is just the icing on the cake.

“I get to train with her every day so I know we are neck and neck.  She’s a phenomenal athlete and it’s lucky that we can push each other so we can be on top of the world.”

“It’s absolutely amazing to win a medal at my first international for GB." Nikki Paterson

An equally delighted Nikki Paterson added: “It’s absolutely amazing to win a medal at my first international for GB.

“Me and Wiggs have worked together all year, pushing each other on and we have used the partnership in the best possible way and that’s paid off. First and second at the World Championships – you can’t argue with that!”

Twenty minutes later there was a third medal for Great Britain courtesy of Jonny Young in the men’s VL3 Va’a event. Leading from the start, Jonny was unfortunately pipped on the line after a final surge by Brazil’s Caio Ribeiro De Carvalho and had to settle for his second successive World Championship silver medal. Martin Tweedie finished 7th. 

A bitterly disappointed Jonny Young said: “It just sums up a disappointing year. A lot of hard work and just not getting the results I wanted. I enjoyed racing again and I love racing in these (Va’a) boats it is just a shame they are not in the Paralympics.”

In the final race of the day the women’s VL3 Final Fran Bateman also rose to the challenge and put down an outstanding performance to also claim silver at her first World Championships. 

Earlier in the day there were other strong heat and semi-final performances across the board that saw Great Britain qualify for a further five A Finals which will be held over Thursday and Friday.

Commenting on the performances, Steve Harris, Paracanoe Programme Manager said: "We have had a good solid start today, but it is obvious that the overall level of competition has stepped up this year. There is greater strength in depth across the competing nations, however we have still managed to keep our heads above water and put down some excellent foundations for finals over the next couple of days.

"To have secured our first Paralympic quota place is absolutely brilliant and a huge milestone, so congratulations to Emma and Nikki who pushed her all the way. This is something we have been working towards for the last five years and now it actually feels real and I am confident there is more to come."

At the 2015 World Championships, each country can qualify a maximum of one Paralympic quota place in each of the six kayak events (three men’s and three women’s) where an athlete finishes in the top six in the final.

DAY 1 RESULTS

Men

VL3 200m     Jonny Young (Independent) Final – 2nd Silver
VL3 200m     Martin Tweedie (Nottingham) Final – 7th
KL3 200m     Rob Oliver (Solihull) Semi-Final 1st & qualifies for A Final
KL3 200m     Tim Lodge (Wey) Semi-Final 2nd & qualifies for A Final
KL2 200m     Nick Beighton (Shropshire) Semi-Final 3rd & qualifies for A Final
KL1 200m     Ian Marsden (Trentham) Semi-Final 4th & qualifies for B Final 

Women

KL2 200m     Emma Wiggs (Independent) Final – 1st Gold
KL2 200m     Nikki Paterson (Independent) Final – 2nd Silver
VL3 200m     Frances Bateman (Independent) Final – 2nd Silver
KL1 200m     Jeanette Chippington (Longridge) Heats 1st & qualifies for A Final
KL3 200m     Anne Dickens (Wey) Heat 3rd & qualifies for A Final
KL3 200m     Samantha Scowen (Independent) Heat 9th

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