Emma Wiggs wins Para-canoeing world gold as GB secure Rio place

By David McDaidBBC Sport in Milan
Nikki Paterson and Emma Wiggs
Paterson and Wiggs will vie for one place on the GB team to compete at Rio 2016

Britain were the first nation to have a Para-canoeist qualify for a Paralympic Games after Emma Wiggs won gold at the Sprint World Championships in Milan.

Wiggs finished ahead of team-mate Nikki Paterson in the KL2 200m final - and both will now vie for one place at next year's Rio Games, at which canoeing will make its Paralympic debut.

"It's absolutely incredible", Wiggs, 35, told BBC Sport.

Britons Jonny Young and Fran Bateman won silver in the VL3 va'a event.

Wiggs said she was "blown away" by her achievement.

She added: "One of us will go to Rio and the other will push all the way.

"We won't find out until June next year but I'm incredibly proud to be part of it."

Emma Wiggs
Emma Wiggs switched sports from sitting volleyball to Para-canoeing after London 2012

While Wiggs is an experienced competitor, having represented Team GB at the London Paralympics in sitting volleyball, Paterson was competing in her first international event.

The 25-year-old former servicewoman only took up the sport 18 months ago after a car accident left her needing her right leg amputated.

"To come away with a gold and silver is unbelievable," said Paterson.

"Me and Emma work well as a team and we're treating this as a partnership to push us both forward."

Further Para-canoe medals are available for Britain on Thursday, when the able-bodied athletes also begin competition.

British competitors are entered in 14 disability events and 14 able-bodied events in the World Championships, which continue until Sunday.

The event is the first of two opportunities for British athletes to qualify for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in canoe sprint.

Able-bodied athletes can also qualify at the continental qualifier in Duisburg in May, while Para-canoeists have a second chance at next year's World Championships.

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