Seven-time world champion para-canoeist Emma Wiggs MBE hosted a beginners’ boating session at the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont as she steers on course for a National Lottery award.
Emma co-hosted a canoeing masterclass with a group of young adults, offering tips and tricks to beginners trying out kayaks and canoes for the first time.
Holme Pierrepont is the training ground for many Olympic and Paralympic training athletes – and often hosts elite sporting events.
Emma is competing to be crowned National Lottery Athlete of the Year after reaching the finals of this year’s National Lottery Awards – the annual search to find the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded athletes and projects.
Scott Harrand, who works at the National Watersports Centre and co-hosted the taster session, said “It was brilliant to work with Emma.
“She has given us some great pointers and tips on how to perform better in our paddle strokes on open boats and it’s been really beneficial to see how the sport is developing and progressing for the Paralympics.
“The more people people who are aware of the sport, the more people are going to find how fantastic and see just how beneficial it is.”
Since a mystery virus impaired her mobility in her legs at the age of 18, Emma has fought her way to the top, becoming the first ever paracanoeist to hold the British, World, European and Paralympic titles at the same time.
Emma said: “I think when you have something in your life that changes the direction you think you’re going in, for example, when I became disabled at the age of 18, you have two choices.
“To give up and feel a bit sorry for yourself or to use the incredible support you have around you and I think for me, what would have been a terrible experience, I managed to turn it in to something truly life changing.
“I’m truly thankful for National Lottery funding as it has enabled me to thrive in a sport I am so passionate about – I can’t thank the players enough for continuing to support me.”
She now has a 2016 Paralympic gold medal, is a seven-time world champion and became the 2017 Grandslam champion.
Emma also took home a gold medal in the World Championship’s at the end of August – despite having a dislocated wrist.
Outside of sport she is an advocate for anti-doping and has been awarded an MBE for Services to Canoeing.
If Emma wins, she’ll be crowned winner on a prestigious BBC One Show on 26th September. She will give the £5,000 prize fund to Medway Plus in Kent. They run a water sports project called Taking to the Water for people who are disadvantaged.
To vote, go to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.