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Emma Wiggs takes first gold as paracanoe debuts at Paralympics

The Briton powered home in a personal best time of 57.028 seconds.

Great Britain's Emma Wiggs etched her name in history by taking the first Paralympic gold in the va'a discipline of paracanoe courtesy of a crushing victory in Tokyo.

Wiggs powered home in a personal best time of 57.028 seconds to claim glory in the VL2 classification, 4.453 seconds ahead of Australia's Susan Seipel.

Fellow Briton Jeanette Chippington picked up GB's 100th medal in Japan by claiming bronze in a time of 1:02.149 – the 14th Games medal of her glittering career, which began as a swimmer 33 years ago.

Paracanoe – which consists of sprint races over a 200m straight line course – debuted at Rio 2016, with the va'a boat introduced for the Tokyo Games, joining kayak competitions..

Wiggs took control of her final from the start at Sea Forest Waterway and let out a roar of emotion after crossing the line before repeatedly punched the water.

The 41-year-old former sitting volleyball player lost the use of her legs after contracting a mystery virus while sheep-shearing in the Blue Mountains in Australia.

She is also the reigning Paralympic champion in the KL2 class and will defend that title on Saturday, with GB world champion Charlotte Henshaw a major rival.

Chippington, who is paralysed in both legs, collected 12 medals in the Paralympic pool between 1988 and 2004, including two golds in Atlanta in 1996.

After taking up the paddle, she has won numerous world and European titles and powered to KL1 glory in Brazil five years ago.

The 51-year-old, whose parents had travelled to watchΒ  each of her previous Games appearances, lost her father David in April last year after he contracted Covid-19.

Robert Oliver – who contracted coronavirus just six weeks ago – secured a third British Paracanoe medal of the day with bronze in the men's KL3 class.

Oliver was in tears after finishing in 41.268, holding off a late surge from Australian Dylan Littlehales.

Ukrainian Serhii Yemelianov took gold in 40.355, ahead of Russian silver medallist Leonid Kylov in 40.464.

Britain's Ian Marsden finished eighth in the men's KL1 final in a time of 52.848.

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