The world’s top canoers hit Paralympic waters for the first time in history at Rio 2016. Here are the five key takeaways from the sport’s debut:
1. Great Britain’s dominance
The British team was the most successful one at canoe’s Paralympic debut. On the women’s side, Jeanette Chippington (KL1), Emma Wiggs (KL2) and Anne Dickins (KL3) accomplished an astonishing hat-trick of gold medals. Two bronze medals from Ian Marsden (KL1) and Nick Beighton (KL2) in the men´s events completed the British medal hunt at the Lagoa Stadium.
2. McGrath ahead of Swoboda
The great rivalry of Australia’s Curtis McGrath and Austria’s six-time world champion Markus Swoboda was a must-watch at Rio 2016. The race was indeed a big spectacle where McGrath showed his gold medal from the 2016 International Canoe Federation (ICF) World Championships was no fluke, as he edged Swoboda by 1.5 seconds to become the first Paralympic champion ever in the KL2 category.
3. Chippington adds 13th medal to her tally
Chippington not only showed her athleticism but also her winning edge, as she just edged out Germany’s Edina Muller by just 0.114 seconds to seal gold. With this outstanding performance, she won her 13th Paralympic medal, which was 12 years after she claimed her last one as a swimmer in Athens, Greece.
4. Perfect circumstances
Held in the picturesque Lagoa Stadium with the Christ the Redeemer in the backdrop, the sport’s Paralympic debut could not have been contested at a better location. The place was also filled with positive vibes by an enthusiastic crowd. The Cariocas filled the atmosphere, especially when Brazil’s Caio Ribeiro de Carvalho took home his country’s only medal in the sport as he sealed the bronze in the KL3.
5. Bright future
Canoe made an excellent showing at its Paralympic debut in Rio. The world’s top paddlers demonstrated why this sport can be so thrilling to watch when it comes down to a few milliseconds to decide who brings home the gold. With increased attention and interest, the sport is expected to grow and expand after this memorable first appearance.