Emma Wiggs reiterated her desire to compete in two canoeing events at this summer’s rescheduled Paralympic Games, after a dominant showing at the sprint and paracanoe national selection event in Nottingham.
The 40-year-old took one step closer to earning selection for the VL2 event with three strong performances at Holme Pierrepont, with the final team being announced in June.
Having signalled her intentions in the va’a Wiggs is also hoping to defend her KL2 title in Tokyo, five years on from her historic gold during paracanoeing’s first appearance at the Paralympics.
And while she admitted balancing the two disciplines isn’t without its challenges, the Diseworth paddler is determined to maximise her involvement on sport’s greatest stage.
“That’s the plan, and it would be amazing,” she said. “I’m really happy with how I’ve performed today because it puts me firmly in contention.
“The Games have been a long time coming and I think everyone’s just really excited to build the teams and go and smash it out of the park in Japan.
“There’s going to be a really strong British paracanoeing squad, and I’d love to be part of that as much as possible. It’s getting harder and harder to stay world class in both boats, but I’d love to deliver some history again.
“The main challenge has been in the kayak, but we know what we need to do to fix it. There’s definitely work to do, but I’m hopeful things will continue to move in the right direction.”
Besides bolstering her Paralympic chances Wiggs’ first competitive outing for 18 months provided her with some much-needed race practice ahead of a crucial few months.
Having putting in the hard yards behind the scenes, the former sitting volleyball player believes its full steam ahead after making her long-awaited return to the water.
She added: “For the first lockdown we were all at home, so we had 15 weeks off the water which in the kayak in particular was a real struggle.
“We’ve been really lucky that the coaches put some really good plans in place and we’ve been able to return to training, but although we’ve done some practice races it’s never quite the same as the real thing.
“You can’t replicate those nerves or butterflies, and it’s lovely to be back racing after such a long time. It’s great to get some race practice in, especially because I’m not planning to go abroad before Tokyo.”
British Canoeing is the national governing body for paddlesport in the UK