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What is Paracanoe?

Paracanoe is the canoeing discipline for athletes with an impairment and races are contested by two types of boat, kayak (K) and va’a (V). The kayak is propelled by a double-blade paddle, while the va’a is an outrigger canoe which has an ama (second pontoon) as a support float and is used with a single-blade paddle. Both kayak and va’a have three different classes of event for men and women, depending on the classification of an athlete’s impairment, with KL1, KL2 and KL3 for kayak and VL1, VL2 and VL3 for va’a. At international level all paracanoe races are individual events and competed at a distance of 200m.

Paracanoe began as an initiative by the International Canoe Federation (ICF) to allow athletes with an impairment to compete in the sport. The discipline featured with exhibition status under the name paddleability at the 2009 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Dartmouth, NS, Canada, and was given official status as paracanoe at the following year’s edition in Poznan, Poland. Later in 2010, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced at a meeting in Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China, that paracanoe would make its debut at the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. There will be six medal events at the Games (three men, three women), all in the kayak category.

Great Britain (22) and Brazil (13) have won 35 of the 74 world titles in paracanoe, with Australia (7) the only other country to have claimed more than six world championship victories. Jeanette Chippington has won 10 of Great Britain’s 22 world titles in paracanoe, the most by an individual. She finished second in the KL1 200m at the 2016 World Championships in Duisburg, Germany, having won at least one event in each of the previous four editions of the competition. The male with the most world titles is Austrian Markus Swoboda. His six victories include five in the K1 200m TA, a record for a male or female in a single event.

Russian Federation has had 18 top-three finishes at the world championships, fewer than only Great Britain (41) and Brazil (25), but has never won a world title having finished second six times and third on 12 occasions. Of those 18 top-three finishes, five came at this year’s world championships.

Home hopes for a medal at paracanoe’s Paralympic debut may lie with Luis Cardoso and Fernando Padua, who share the record for most world championship wins by a Brazilian, both with four. Cardoso was a professional dancer before an infection in his bone marrow resulted in him being unable to walk, while former model and reality television contestant Padua is a person with paraplegia following a car accident.

Paracanoe Information

Classification Master list of athletes

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