Portugal 2018: Four things we learned

Major takeaways from the Para Canoe World Championships 27 Aug 2018
Man in a canoe celebrating
Australia's Curtis McGrath celebrates after winning gold at the 2018 World Championships

The 2018 Para Canoe World Championships came to an end on Sunday (26 August) in Montemor-o-velho, Portugal. Here are four things we can take away from this edition:

New women in the water

Charlotte Henshaw overtook her British teammate and reigning world and Paralympic champion Emma Wiggs in the women’s KL2.

Sweden’s Helene Ripa captured the women’s KL3 title ahead of Australian veteran Amanda Reynolds by slim margins.

Both Henshaw and Ripa switched to Para canoe, and their talents apparently transferred well.

Ukraine’s Maryna Mazhula also surprised in the women’s KL1 to win ahead of reigning Paralympic, world and European champion Jeanette Chippington of Great Britain.

Men’s KL3 rivalry

A split second separated Brazil’s Caio Carvalho and Ukraine’s Serhii Yemelianov in the men’s KL3 finals.

Yemelianov was able to hold onto the title, but the Rio 2016 champion will have to watch as Carvalho appears more motivated to do better than his bronze at his home Paralympics.

McGrath still unbeatable

Australia’s Curtis McGrath continues to dominate the men’s KL2, winning his third straight world gold.

The Paralympic champion also won the men’s VL3 category, which means a lot more now that the discipline was added to the Tokyo 2020 programme.


Three new medal events have been added to the 2020 Paralympic programme for canoe – men’s VL2 and VL3, and women’s VL2.

While Wiggs was not able to defend her title in the kayak, she proved to be a powerful contender in the Va’a boat (outrigger canoe) after her gold.

Brazilians appeared the strongest in this discipline after Carvalho chased down McGrath for silver in the men’s VL3. The VL2 event saw only 0.6 seconds separate winner Igor Tofalini and Luis Silva – both Brazilian.