two male Para canoeists side by side in their boats with one punching the air in celebration

Serhii Yemelianov


Reigning world and Paralympic champion Serhii Yemelianov has been hard to catch in the men’s KL3 category. This season so far, he dominated the Poznan World Cup and claimed the European Championship title in May.

He emerged as the surprise gold medal winner at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. He upset favourite from Germany Tom Kierey, who had won back-to-back world titles in the men’s KL3 leading up to those Games.

Yemelianov had always been in the German’s shadows in those years, taking silver to Kierey at the 2016 Worlds in Duisburg, Germany. But since the Ukrainian’s Paralympic victory, he has become the man to beat in the KL3 class. He won the 2017 Worlds gold and opened the 2018 season with a World Cup victory in Szeged, Hungary. 

Yemelianov’s rise in the sport was quick. He finished eighth at the 2015 edition, which was his major international debut.

He had been paddling as a child, but devoted his time to powerlifting, before returning back to his love for canoe.