14 September 2016

PROFILE: Emma Wiggs (GBR) KL2W 200m

Emma Wiggs was an 18-year-old working on a farm in Australia during her gap year when she contracted a virus that overnight paralysed her arms and legs. She recovered the use of her arms, but the damaged nerves in her legs were lasting.

In 2010 she attended a United Kingdom Sport talent identification day, and was offered the chance to train in basketball, sitting volleyball, fencing, shooting and athletics. She chose sitting volleyball as she had taught it during her time as a physical education teacher, and she wanted to play a team sport.

The sports science graduate from University of Chichester in England was a member of the Great Britain sitting volleyball team that finished 11th at the 2010 World Championships in Edmond, OK, United States of America, and eighth at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. After the Games she decided to seek a new challenge and switched sports to paracanoe. In March 2013 she was selected for the Great Britain team, and five months later won her first world title in the K1W 200m TA in Duisburg, Germany. She defended that title the following year in Moscow, Russian Federation, as well as winning the V1W 200m TA.

The Harrow-born paddler took her tally of world titles to five by winning the KL2W 200m in both 2015 and 2016. Only Great Britain’s Jeanette Chippington (10) and Austria’s Markus Swoboda (6) have more world championships victories than Wiggs (5).