Emma wanted to add to use her passion to enrich the environment at the National Water Sports Centre, engage the public in canoeing and physical activity and raise the profile of both the athletes and sports who train there daily.

It was hoped that by raising the profile we could have a positive impact on society in terms of physical activity but also engagement with sport and activity for physical and mental wellbeing.

Emma designed and developed the boards to include the following:

  • An interactive fact / engagement information
  • A physical challenge / activity
  • A sustainability tip
  • An anagram to promote literacy and physical activity as they move around the site to collect all 10 letters

Centre Contract Manager Jack Garner said:

“We are constantly striving to improve our site and the new canoeing engagement boards are a great addition.  We are so proud to have British Canoeing world class athletes training here 6 days a week and these boards aim to educate members of the public about the collaboration between the site and the sport.

We hope families who visit our beautiful site enjoy hunting out the boards and learning about canoeing while also trying our activities and sustainability ideas.” – Jack Garner, Contract Manager

Emma Wiggs said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to get this project completed. As a High Performance Programme based fulltime at the National Watersports Centre, we know the positive impact that being in the outdoors on this beautiful site can have on both our physical and mental wellbeing. My motivation was to share our amazing sport with the local community and visitors to the site and help engage them in a positive way with both canoeing, physical activities, sustainability ideas and the great outdoors!

Its fantastic to see families and individuals enjoying hunting out the boards and being active!”


ParalympicsGB para canoeist Emma Wiggs MBE nominated for Sunday Times Disability Sportswoman of the Year 2017

This year, Emma replicated her performance at last year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo to take home her 10th World Championship gold medal in August’s 2022 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.

Emma had an incredibly strong start to the women’s VL2 finals, storming out of the bucket to take the lead early on.. She secured a strong victory, gaining almost three seconds on second place competitor Brianna Hennessy, from Canada.

Emma was joined on the podium by fellow British competitor Jeanette Chippington, who won bronze, helping to add a second medal for Great Britain in the women’s VL2 final.

Delighted with the results, Emma spoke to British Canoeing on this year’s victory:

“I’m really relieved, really chuffed. It’s been a tough year for lots of reasons, lots of changes and really suffering a bit of confidence. I’m just really pleased to get here and deliver a run that made the people I love proud.

“I’ve never done a straight final in the Va’a, so I was nervous, particularly with not racing for a year,” Emma continued. “So I was really pleased to control my nerves on the starting line and just give it all I had. It felt a long way but I’m really chuffed. And to have Jeanette on the podium as well is just amazing. Amazing.”

Despite the fantastic results, Emma doesn’t plan on stopping with her 10th gold medal, but admits there may be some tough competition in the future.

“The rest of the world is stepping up,” said Emma after the race. “They’re coming for us, so we’ve got a lot more work to do to try and stay ahead.”

Competition was tough at this year’s ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships taking place in August 2022 in Dartmouth, Canada, as Emma Wiggs managed to place on the podium in two events, bringing home two medals for Great Britain.

Competing in both the Kayak and the Va’a races at this year’s World Championships, Emma was joined on the KL2 podium by fellow British competitor Charlotte Henshaw, who was just 0.69 seconds faster.

It was a fantastic event for Emma and the rest of the British team. Speaking to British Canoeing on her performance at the World Championships, Emma said:

“I came in just wanting to deliver a great run and that’s what I did. That comes from the hard work that we spent all winter doing. So it feels amazing.

“I’m really proud of the team,” Emma continued. “To see so many GB tracksuits on those podiums this morning will have bolstered the table for Great Britain at these championships.”

Emma hopes that these events can inspire others with a disability to find a sport that changes their lives in the same way it’s changed hers.

“I want anyone that watches this with a disability or who knows someone with a disability to get involved in sport. It’s completely changed my life. I believe in the power of sport to have a positive impact on people’s lives. Whether you’re doing it with friends or you’re doing it at the level we’re fortunate enough to do it at, it can change your life. I hope people are inspired to get involved.”

Emma’s now preparing for a busy year of competition in 2023, including next year’s World Championships, taking place in Duisburg, Germany, where she hopes to bring home even more medals for Great Britain, adding to her 10 world championship titles!

There was no rest for Emma following her medal-winning performances at this summer’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo, as the Paracanoe World Championships took place in Copenhagen last weekend (16 – 19 September).

Competing in the VL2 class – an event in which she won gold just a couple of weeks before in Tokyo – Emma dominated the field to defend her World Championship title, winning by 7.55 seconds to beat Russian Canoe Federation’s Mariia Nikiforova in silver, and Brazil’s Debora Benevides in third.

The following day saw a second 2021 World Championships medal for Emma, this time taking silver in the KL2 class and just behind British Canoeing teammate Charlotte Henshaw, as the pair repeated the result from Tokyo.

Speaking to British Canoeing after winning gold in the VL2 race, Emma said: “We haven’t had our usual prep into it because of the Paralympic Games, so I was a bit nervous about whether we could deliver with not ideal preparation but it just feels incredible to have been able to deliver it for Matt my coach.

“And actually to have some of my family out here was really amazing because obviously, they couldn’t come to Tokyo, so I feel like it’s rounded off the year quite nicely.”

For more information on British Canoeing’s successes in Copenhagen, visit https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/news.

Emma rounded off a record-breaking Paralympic Games in Tokyo with a silver medal in the Women’s KL2 race to become the most decorated female paracanoeist at a Paralympic Games of all time, and the only female paddler to medal in both the Kayak and Va’a races at the same Games.

The KL2 Final was a gripping event, with Emma finishing with a time of 51.409, just 0.649 seconds behind Great Britain teammate Charlotte Henshaw, pushing her all the way to the line. All three podium finishers beat the previous Paralympic record time in what was a very quick race.

Emma and Charlotte’s medals helped ensure ParalympicsGB topped the Paracanoe medal table with seven medals overall, three of them gold.

Speaking after collecting her third Paralympic medal, fighting back tears, Emma said: “I’m exhausted, it’s been a crazy 24 hours!“

Reflecting on the race, she added: “I know Charlotte is a fantastic athlete and was going to be ahead so I just wanted to be as close as I could and be ahead of the rest of the world.”

“We wanted to show the world what we’ve got and I feel like we did that today. We put on the best performances we could and have come away with a gold and silver medal today.”

“I’m chuffed to bits for Charlotte and absolutely blown away to be next to her on the podium. She’s helped me become a better athlete and been a huge part of the squad these past five years. I’m just proud that as a ParalympicsGB team we’ve made disability impossible to ignore. I love this sport and will go on as long as the boats go faster.”

There’s no post-Paralympic rest period for Emma as she prepares for the 2021 Paracanoe World Championships in Copenhagen, set to take place from the 15th – 19th September, where she will again be competing in both the VL2 and KL2 events.

You can follow Emma’s progress on the British Canoeing website, which will have articles on each day of the Championships.

Emma Wiggs

Emma raced superbly to make history and become a double Paralympic Champion and the first-ever winner in the Paralympic Women’s VL2 event!

Emma’s time of 57.028 ensured a historic gold and beat the Paralympic Record she set in the heats by over a second. Emma finished over four seconds faster than Australian silver medallist Susan Seipel and was also joined on the podium by fellow Brit Jeanette Chippington. Emma and Jeanette’s medals were Paralympics GB’s 99th and 100th medals in Tokyo, with Great Britain second in the overall medal table, behind only China.


After the race, Emma was understandably thrilled and emotional, saying, “I’m unbelievably chuffed and happy to be here with this heavy medal. It feels incredibly emotional because of the struggle everyone has had globally, and I’m overwhelmingly grateful to the Japanese people and the organising committee for putting the games on.”

She continued: “It’s amazing to make history and to get on the podium with Jeannette again is more than we could have dreamt of, and I’ve just heard that Rob has got on the podium, which has made me cry again. I’m so proud of the team we have and there’s some unbelievable talent and more to come tomorrow, so stay tuned for that. 

“It’s been a lot of hard work and our team have been incredible. The staff are world-class in everything they do. We do the easy bit, paddling 200m. 

“My family have also been incredible and that’s why I find today so emotional as they’ve been part of this journey the whole time. I just wanted to make everyone at home proud. I actually imagined them on the bridge, and I paddled towards them.”

Whilst they weren’t able to be in Tokyo, Emma was cheered on by a group of family and friends in her hometown of Watford, who could probably be heard from Tokyo as Emma crossed the line.

Emma is competing again tomorrow in the KL2 Final at 3:04 am (UK Time) with coverage across Channel 4 and their streaming site All4.

Emma’s Paralympic Games got off to a great start as she put in a superb performance to win both of her heats in the VL2 and KL2 events, ensuring a safe passage through to both finals.

Emma made history in her first heat, winning the first-ever Paralympic Games VL2 race, setting a Paralympic best in the process. Emma’s time of 58.084 ensured she finished over six seconds faster than the rest of the field. Across both heats, Emma was the only athlete to go under the 60-second mark, setting her up well for Friday’s Final (3:02 am UK Time).

Emma came out just over an hour later at Tokyo’s Sea Forest Waterway for her KL2 heat, which she also won to secure her place in Saturday’s Final (3:04 am UK Time). She will also be joined in the final by fellow Brit, Charlotte Henshaw, who also won her earlier heat. Emma’s time of 53.371 was almost two seconds faster than her closest competitor in a very quick heat. Emma’s time put her second fastest across both heats, just slightly behind Charlotte’s time of 52.794, to set up what’s sure to be an enthralling final.

You can watch Emma’s finals live on Channel 4 on Friday and Saturday morning.

ParalympicsGB para canoeist Emma Wiggs MBE nominated for Sunday Times Disability Sportswoman of the Year 2017

The competition schedule has been confirmed and there’s set to be a few (hopefully!) late nights or early mornings for viewers in the UK to watch Emma’s sprints live.

The heats for both the KL2 and VL2 events are on Thursday 2nd September. Emma’s VL2 heat is the second of two heats and is at 1:45 am, whilst she competes just over an hour later at 3:05 am in the KL2 in the second heat.

Friday 3rd September sees the conclusion of the VL2 event, with the semi-finals taking place at 1:44 am and 1:51 am, and the final later that morning at 3:02 am.

The KL2 event concludes the following day with the events scheduled for the same times, the semis at 1:44 am and 1:51 am, and the final at 3:02 am.

You can watch full coverage of the Paralympic Games including Emma’s events on Channel 4 and across the Channel 4 website, where there will be repeats throughout the day for those who miss the action overnight.

All times UK BST times.


Emma Wiggs

Emma is competing in two events in the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics later this summer. The KL2 event is a really challenging one, with her teammate Charlotte Henshaw being the current world champion.  However, Emma hopes a good delivery will keep her in the fight for the medals. These Games see the introduction of the Va’a events, and Emma will race in the VL2 and aim to make history as one of only a few athletes who will ‘double up’ and attempt to medal in two different events. Emma qualified for both events thanks to her outstanding success in the 2019 World Championships hosted in Hungary where she won gold in the VL2 and silver in the KL2. You can read more about Emma’s success in Hungary here.

Emma will be hoping to cap off what is set to be an outstanding summer of sport, with the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place following last year’s postponement due to the pandemic. Emma’s heats for both events will be on 2nd September, with the VL2 final scheduled for the following day and the KL2 final to be held on the 4th of September.

In addition to training six days a week in preparation, Emma has also taken up a de-facto ambassadorial role ahead of Tokyo, appearing in an advert for the National Lottery alongside five fellow athletes including Jonnie Peacock and Tom Bosworth to promote this year’s Olympics and Paralympics. Emma has also been heavily involved with Vitality Health, leading a discussion with sports psychologist Dr Emma Ross to discuss the taboos that exist around women’s health, which you can watch on YouTube here.

Emma is thrilled to be competing in her third Paralympics, having represented Great Britain in the Sitting Team Volleyball event at the London 2012 Paralympics, before switching sports to Paracanoe and winning gold in Rio in the KL2 event.

“It will be a very different Games – we can’t get away from that. But I feel quite positive and excited about the fact it will be a moment to showcase some sporting performances that will bring some positivity and inspiration. I hope we can use it as an opportunity to celebrate our efforts to overcome the really significant challenges of the last year.” Read Emma’s full interview where she discussed her excitement at competing in two events and the support provided by the National Lottery here.

You can find out more about the athletes competing in Tokyo on the Paralympics GB website here.

Emma Wiggs MBE has been chosen as one of 35 elite female athletes for the ‘Unlocked’ initiative, set up by Women’s Sports Trust, with the aim of challenging the lack of diversity in sport, particularly at a senior level.

Emma joins other elite female athletes such as Nikita Parris and Hannah Cockcroft to seek to effect change in sports. The initiative was first launched in 2020 and proved to be a success with four athletes taking positions on sports body boards including Lizzie Simmonds, the new chair of the British Olympic Association’s Athletes Commission and Vanessa Wallace who has joined the charity Sporting Equals as a trustee.

Emma’s selection comes ahead of her competing in the delayed 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, where she will be going for gold in two events – the KL-2 where she is reigning Paralympic champion and in the inaugural VL-2 race, having won the 2018 and 2019 World Championships in the classification. Emma is really excited to be acting as an agent of change, with improving diversity in sport a passion of hers.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected for this incredible programme. I’m excited to be able to learn from the rest of the hugely talented group and see what positive impact we can have on women’s sport across the country and maybe even the world. There has never been a more exciting time to be involved with the changing landscape of women’s sport and I can’t wait to play my part in ensuring that change keeps on coming.”

You can read more about the Unlocked initiative on the Women’s Sports Trust website by clicking here.