Jakub Tokarz had not won any major competition before the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where Chinese world champion Xiaowei Yu appeared as the favourite for gold.
But the Pole showed that he relishes the big occasions, taking gold in the men’s KL1 200m on the sport’s Paralympic debut, ahead of Hungary’s Robert Suba and Great Britain’s Ian Marsden, who completed the podium.
Tokarz, ‘Kuba’ as he is known, decided to take up Para canoe in 2011 after reading about it in the newspaper. He won his first medals on home soil the following year, a silver in the men's K1 200m A and a bronze in the V1 200m A at the World Championships in Poznan, Poland.
Throughout his career, he has claimed five silvers and two bronzes over four Worlds.
Amongst his hobbies, Tokarz lists literature, linguistics, and the theory and methodology of sport.