"I am on a good level now, but I still have room to improve..."
Six months after winning silver, Germany’s top paddler Edina Muller is still reminiscing on her experience at Para canoe’s debut at Rio 2016.
In a super tight race at the scenic Lagoa stadium in Brazil, Muller sealed the silver medal in the 200m KL1 just 0.114 seconds behind Great Britain’s Jeanette Chippington.
“My first Paralympic medal in Para canoe is obviously so special and exciting. I worked so hard in the last years, and I am so happy that I’ve come this far in such a short time. The success makes everything worth it and all the effort is paying off,” Muller said.
The silver in Rio was not Muller’s first Paralympic hardware, but a very special one. Before transitioning to Para canoe in 2014, she was part of the German women’s wheelchair basketball team that took silver and gold from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, respectively.
September’s Games were a new experience for Muller still, as this time she was competing in an individual sport.
“I was used to playing in a team at the previous Paralympics. Now, I still have a team behind me that supports me every day, but when you are on the start line on the water, you are the one responsible for a fast time,” she said.
After Rio, Muller took some time off to pursue an activity she has had on her list for a while. She knows once the Para canoe season picks up, she will not have time again:
“My big passion is diving and free-diving. I went to the Maldives to dive with manta rays,” she said.
The German is back to training for the 2017 International Canoe Federation (ICF) Para Canoe World Championships in Racice, Czech Republic, in August. She did not have an ideal start to her preparations as flu put her out for two months.
Her training schedule for Racice includes a camp in Florida, the USA, as well as competitions such as the ICF World Cup in Szeged, Hungary, or the national qualifications in April.
“It is important to concentrate on myself. I am on a good level now, but I still have room to improve, the start for example could be much better. I need to work on that for the next competitions,” she said.
Twice on the big stage, including the 2015 World Championships, she has finished runner up to Chippington.
But she is training to change that script in August.
“The last races were very tight every time. Sometimes she wins, sometimes I do. That is what makes Para canoe so great and exciting to me,” she concluded.
For more information about the 2017 ICF Para Canoe World Championships, visit the ICF’s website.