Big names get business done on opening day of Paracanoe World Cup

It was business as usual for the biggest names in international paracanoe on the opening day of the ICF World Cup in Szeged on Thursday.

Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medallists Emma Wiggs, Curtis McGrath and Serhii Yemelianov were among the athletes to cruise through their respective heats, qualifying directly for finals on Friday and Saturday.

Great Britain’s Wiggs was untroubled in her heat of the women’s KL2 200.

“It was really nice to get out on the course and get racing, the course is phenomenal and it’s brilliant to be in the spiritual home of canoeing,” the multiple world champion said.

“It’s been a really tough year, been a really hard winter, so we’re really looking to peak towards the end of the year, so this is a great stepping stone to give us an idea how much the brutal winter has made a difference.”

Wiggs will also be racing in the va’a competition in Szeged, after the outrigger canoe was added to the program for Tokyo 2020.

Australia’s McGrath will also compete in the va’a, but on Thursday he was comfortably winning his heat of the KL2.

“It was fast start call, but good hit-out, good competition,” McGrath said.

“I was really just trying to nail the start, which I didn’t quite do, but I had a good middle of the race and then came home strong. I followed my race plan, so looking forward to see how we go in the final.”

Ukraine’s Yemelianov showed he has maintained his good form from Rio and last year’s World Championships, winning his heat of the men’s KL3, while British duo Robert Oliver and Jonathan Young also won their KL3 heats.

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