Great Britain’s Emma Wiggs became the first para-canoe athlete to land a qualification slot for Rio 2016 after winning the KL2 200m event on Day One of the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Sprint and Para-Canoe World Championship.
The World Championships, held 19-23 August in Milan, Italy, is the first opportunity for athletes to earn spots for their country toward Rio 2016, where the sport will make its Paralympic debut. Only single kayak events will be contested.
Great Britain took a one-two finish in the women’s KL2 200m on Wednesday (19 August), led by Wiggs (53.023 seconds) and Nicola Paterson (54.521), respectively. Australia’s Susan Seipel took the bronze with a time of 55.616.
“[Wednesday] was all about qualifying a Great Britain boat for Rio, so it’s not about individual performances,” said Wiggs, who a year ago in the Moscow, Russia, won titles in the KL1 and VL1 competitions. “But I’m absolutely delighted with my performance and my teammate Nikki [coming] in a fraction behind me for second is just the icing on the cake.”
“I get to train with her every day so I know we are neck-and-neck,” Wiggs said. “She’s a phenomenal athlete and it’s lucky that we can push each other so we can be on top of the world.”
The women’s KL2 200m was one of five finals that took place on Wednesday.
The men and women’s VL1 and VL3 200m medals were also up for grabs, with Brazil taking double-gold on the men’s side.
Caio Ribeiro De Carvalho summoned a powerful surge to the finish line to win the men’s VL3 200m final in 50.656 and stole the victory from Great Britain’s Jonathan Young. Hungary’s Daniel Geri finished third in 52.311.
“When I kicked at the end, I looked and realised when I had crossed first, it was more than overwhelming,” De Carvalho said.
“Last year, I lost my title and I was focused on getting my title back, so thank you Brazil. This is for Brazil.”
Compatriot Luis C. Cardoso Da Silva, who is focusing on developing his kayak skills in a bid to make the team for Rio 2016, showed he is still a force to be reckoned with. Da Silva (57.912) captured the men’s VL1 200m title.
Poland’s Jakub Tokarz (58.639) and Hungary’s Robert Suba (1:02.919) followed up for silver and bronze, respectively.
“I am very happy because last year I won this race so it was good to win it again,” Da Silva said.
The USA’s Anja Pierce won her first world title with gold in the women’s VL3 200m, finishing in 1:02.536; Pierce owned silver and bronze from the 2012 and 2013 World Championships. Great Britain’s Frances Bateman (1:03.208) took the silver, and Brazil’s Aline Souza Lopes (1:05.432) finished with the bronze.
Poland’s Katarzyna Leskiewicz (1:15.299) who took gold in the women’s VL1 200m, holding a strong gap over the USA’s Ann Yoshida (1:18.539).
Competition continues on Thursday (20 August). Live results and start lists of the 2015 ICF Canoe Sprint and Para-Canoe World Championships can be found on the ICF’s website.
Men’s VL1 200m
1. Luis C.Cardoso Da Silva (BRA) 57.912
2. Jakub Tokarz (POL) 58.639
3. Robert Suba (HUN) 1:02.919
Men’s VL3 200m
1. Caio Ribeiro De Carvalho (BRA) 50.656
2. Jonathan Young (GBR) 51.058
3. Daniel Geri (HUN) 52.311
Women’s KL1 200m
1. Emma Wiggs (GBR) 53.023
2. Nicola Paterson (GBR) 54.521
3. Susan Seipel (AUS) 55.616
Women’s VL3 200m
1. Anja PIERCE (USA) 1:02.536
2. Frances BATEMAN (GBR) 1:03.208
3. Aline SOUZA LOPES (BRA) 1:05.432
Women’s VL1 200m*
1. Katarzyna Leskiewicz (POL) 1:15.299
2. Ann Yoshida (USA) 1:18.539
*Non-world championship event