21 May 2019
Wiggs powers to European paracanoe gold
Paralympic gold medallist Emma Wiggs admits that leading a British one-two made the achievement all the more special after retaining her title at the Paracanoe European Championships.
Wiggs powered to victory in the women’s VL2 race, with compatriot Jeanette Chippington claiming silver, while Rob Oliver and Ian Marsden also claimed bronze medals for GB in Poznan.
Wiggs, who clinched KL2 gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, clocked 1:09.072 to beat fellow Paralympic champion Chippington by a second.
And the 38-year-old insists this victory will hold a special place in her heart after the tough road she has taken to seal the crown.
“I’m really, really chuffed because I think it’s been quite a brutal year, so this one feels more emotional than some of them,” said Wiggs.
“It was all about the delivery so I’m really pleased I lined up feeling ready to deliver. I felt good in the first half and then the second half of the race was just down to the fact we haven’t really had a winter.
It gives you something to aim for and to be on the podium again with Jeanette is really special. The older we get, the more we realise we’ve got to cherish these moments.
“Hopefully we can build from this and carry on getting those podium spots.”
In the men’s KL1 event, 2016 Paralympic bronze medallist Marsden secured an impressive bronze medal from a stacked field – clocking 52.493s to earn a spot on the podium by just 0.3s.
And Oliver matched that display in the men’s KL3 as he tore through his heat and then produced a strong finish in the final to edge fellow British canoeist Jonny Young off the podium.
“I’m over the moon especially because for the last couple of months, I’ve been juggling training with having a new baby,” explained Oliver.
“The winter has been there but it’s just been the lack of sleep over the past few months. The coaches told me it would come back and luckily, after three days kip here, it’s come back.
It was touch and go – I was hoping to be back in among the medals, so I couldn’t be happier.
“All the top guys were there, so I’m ecstatic. I’m going to rest up and smash it hard on Thursday to hopefully get straight through to the final.
“I’ll chance my arm again and hopefully I can come away with some more silverware.”
The racing continues in Poznan on Wednesday, with the British squad looking to secure more medals.
Picture credit: British Canoeing
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