Five of the six Paralympic canoe champions from Rio 2016 are looking for more gold, as the 2018 Para Canoe World Championships begin on Wednesday (22 August) in Montemor-o-Velho, Portugal
Great Britain’s Jeanette Chippington and Emma Wiggs have dominated the women’s KL1 and KL2 categories, respectively, winning both the 2016 Paralympic and 2017 world titles.
They return as favourites in their kayak events, and will also go head-to-head in the women’s VL2, which will be hotly-contested after being added to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic programme. It was Wiggs who triumphed when the pair met in the VL2 at this year’s World Cup in Szeged, Hungary.
Australia’s Paralympic bronze medallist Susan Seipel will try to snap Wiggs’ World Championships winning streak in the women’s KL2 at five.
Seipel’s compatriot Curtis McGrath holds the Paralympic and world titles in the men’s KL2, and he will renew his rivalry with Austria’s Markus Swoboda, who twice finished behind McGrath in the kayak discipline at those two major international competitions.
They will both be challenged by New Zealand’s Scott Martlew, who was a surprise package when finishing a close second behind McGrath in the KL2 in Szeged.
The men’s VL3 was another event added to Tokyo 2020, and McGrath and Swoboda are expected to also contend for the top prize here.
All three medallists from the men’s KL1 in Rio – Poland’s reigning champion Jakub Tokarz, Hungary’s Robert Suba and Great Britain’s Ian Marsden – will do battle again in Portugal, and will also contest the VL2.
The ultra-consistent Serhii Yemelianov, a gold medallist for Ukraine in the men’s KL3 at the 2016 Games, will be looking to defend the world title he won in Racice, Czech Republic, last year.
The 2018 Para Canoe World Championships runs until 26 August.