Russia’s Larisa Volik* successfully defended her VL3 title in a powerful finish on the opening day (22 August) of the 2018 Para Canoe World Championships https://www.canoeicf.com/ in Montemor-o-Velho, Portugal.
Volik, who won her first world title in Racice, Czech Republic, last year and is also the reigning European champion, paddled hard to overtake Ukraine’s Nataliia Lahutenko and Great Britain’s Charlotte Henshaw to the finish line.
Volik’s time in the non-Paralympic event was 1:06.262, with Lahutenko 0.135 seconds back and Henshaw, who led for most of the race, fading to finish third in 1:06.407.
It was compensation for Volik after she struggled in the Paralympic kayak class heats earlier on Wednesday.
“I thought I got a very good start and that I was doing well, but the other girls were very strong and then I realised I was not doing so good,” Volik said.
“I was very disappointed with my kayak race earlier today, but I think I will do better next time. I spend more time on my kayak because it’s Paralympic class.”
In Wednesday’s only other final, Germany’s Peter Happ defeated Chile’s Robinson Mendez in the men’s VL1; both are newcomers to the sport.
“This is my first year with the national team, so to take first place in the VL1, I’m super happy, and just glad to be here,” Happ said.
“I was not nervous before the race, but when I was at the start, yes I could feel my stomach.
“I like it, this is the best sport I can do with my national team, it’s the travelling around, competing with the other guys, it’s a lot of fun.”
The 2018 Para Canoe World Championships continues Thursday (23 August) with the men’s KL1 and women’s KL2 and KL3 finals.
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.