Luis Carlos Cardoso da Silva has won four paracanoe world titles, joint-most by a Brazilian with Fernando Padua. Austria’s Markus Swoboda (6) is the only male to win more. Cardoso’s first world championships victory came in the V1M 200m A in 2014, and the following year he was victorious in both the VL1M 200m and KL1M 200m. He successfully defended his VL1M world title in 2016, but could only finish third in the KL1M 200m behind Xu Xiaowei of People’s Republic of China and Jakub Tokarz of Poland.

Born in Picos, Cardoso da Silva was a professional dancer who listed his favourite dances as the samba and the forro. In 2009 he contracted an infection in his bone marrow due to the parasite schistosomiasis, and on his 25th birthday was told he would be unable to walk again. He then had to cope with the death of his mother only a few days after his diagnosis. During his rehabilitation he decided sport would be the best way to break up his routine of going to physical therapy then returning home to watch television. He initially tried wheelchair basketball before choosing to pursue paracanoe because, “I see kayaking as a dance”.

Cardoso da Silva is coached by Hungarian Akos Angyal, who achieved podium finishes in canoe sprint at the world championships in 1989 and 1991, and aims to win a gold medal at his home Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.