Para-canoe World Championships: Emma Wiggs secures emotional gold

Emma Wiggs
Wiggs is the current Paralympic KL2 champion

Britain's Emma Wiggs successfully defended her Para-canoe VL2 200m world title with a dominant and emotional victory in Szeged, Hungary.

Wiggs, 39, had surgery on her right wrist after a training injury last year and after struggling with her rehabilitation, considered quitting the sport.

"It's been a rubbish year for me and I'm just over the moon," she said.

Team-mate Stuart Wood claimed bronze in the men's VL3 200m final.

The results for Wiggs and Woods secures ParalympicsGB places in those respective events at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Victory in the VL2 canoe (va'a) event - which is for athletes who use their arms and upper body to propel themselves forward - was Wiggs' eighth world title since switching from sitting volleyball which she competed in at London 2012.

She completed the race in a personal best time of 56.10 seconds to finish ahead of Australia's Susan Seipel (57.74) and Mariia Nikiforova of Russia (59.24).

"This is incredible because with the injury it's the first time in my life I've really felt quite disabled," she said. "It probably sounds weird coming from a person who's been in a wheelchair for more than 20 years, but it's been that tough."

Wood, 25, is in his first year with the senior GB Para-canoe team and followed up European gold in May with world bronze behind Australian champion Curtis McGrath and silver medallist Caio Ribeiro de Carvalho of Brazil.

"I'm delighted, I wanted a quota spot (for the Paralympics), so a medal is a massive bonus," he said.

"It was a step up in terms of pressure from the Europeans, but to do this in my first year is just a massive confidence boost."

Wiggs, who is the Paralympic champion in the KL2, will compete against current world champion and GB team-mate Charlotte Henshaw in the event on Friday.

Olympic champion Liam Heath and Britain's three-time Olympian Jess Walker will also return for their respective K1 200m semi-finals on Friday.

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