The 2018 ICF Paracanoe World Cup in Szeged, Hungary, was a game of inches.
Paralympic and World Champion Curtis McGrath barely won the gold in the Men’s KL2 race over New Zealand’s World Cup debutant, Scott Martlew, in what ended in a photo-finish.
“It just goes to show New Zealand is producing some very good paddlers,” says McGrath. “I’ve never raced against him before. Scott was there when I first jumped in a kayak, so it’s pretty cool to race against him now.”
Italian world champion Esteban Gabriel Farias took the gold in the Men’s KL2 race just hundredths of a second ahead of Brazil’s Luis Carlos Cardosa Da Silva. It was the closest race of the day, and the results had to await an official confirmation.
“I have been training a lot for this season, but my start was not very good,” said Farias. “For the first two or three paddles, I did not stay with my brain. I saw the line and I pushed a lot at the end.” Overall, he was happy though. “It’s a good result for me.”
On the women’s side, Great Britain went one and two in the Women’s VL2 race, with Emma Wiggs taking the gold over teammate and Paralympic gold medalist, Jeanette Chippington. Both Brits held out Australia’s multiple world champion, Susan Seipel.
“It’s brilliant to have it in the Games for Tokyo, it’s really great to be racing alongside Jeanette because I know she’s a world-class athlete, so to have both of us on the podium, it’s the first time ever and a bit of a dream of mine because she’s my roommate and a total legend,” Wiggs said.
Wiggs raced a Vaá boat for the first time since 2014 in the event. “It certainly makes it a bit challenging, and we are trying to juggle it at the moment. It’s going to be a real challenge to try and do two boats and remain competitive in both of them. It’s something we are going to look to see if we can do, but for me it’s a brilliant new challenge.”
Paralympic gold medalist and World Champion Serhii Yemelianov, secured the win in the Men’s KL3 race. “This is a good result, but at the moment I am just in my heavy training period of the year. I will focus more on speed now ahead of the World Championships. I feel good, with a lot of strength and energy. It’s very hard to be at the top, and to climb to the top,” said Yemelianov.
To see a full list of results go to http://szegedcanoe2018.com