I’ve always been a big planner, never happier than when I’ve got a plan to follow, albeit I’m happy to adapt it and be flexible as needed….as long as there’s another plan to implement!

As an athlete you always have a plan about what you want to achieve and how you will go about it.

Matt (my coach) and myself had a plan for 2018… get bigger, get stronger & make the boat faster!

And we did, we worked tirelessly all winter smashing out gym sessions, battling the harsh weather on the water and eating anything not nailed down and we got faster… faster than either of us thought we could. The racing season started in May and we unexpectedly broke the world record in both boats (thanks partly to a large tailwind), smashing the 49sec barrier and becoming the fastest women in the world ever in the kayak!

We’d hit a peak earlier than expected and tried to build on this through the season until the main goal, the World Championships in late August.  We’d won two World Cup golds, two European golds, we’d broken the world’s fastest times in both boats, we were flying.

Photo Credits: Vekassy ICF

And then the plan went wrong… we had an accident in the gym.  Accidents happen but when they are avoidable it’s frustrating, it’s devastating, you blame yourself for that moment of complacency that derails your plan and can send you spiralling into despair.

My wrist was damaged, really damaged, a subluxed bone and ruptured ligaments, just before the competition we’d been aiming for and working towards all year. It threw me, a mix of emotions and self-obsessed pity – ‘why me?’ ‘I’ve worked so hard?’ ‘this is so unfair?’ – but surrounded and supported by the right people we made a new plan and headed off in a slightly different direction.

The injury was what it was… we couldn’t turn back the clock, we couldn’t undo the accident, but we could choose to make the most of it.

We accessed the best surgeon and sought the best advice, I couldn’t wheel my wheelchair or transfer pain free but bizarrely I could paddle my boat. The surgeon said we couldn’t do any more damage, so we decided to carry on, to learn as much as we could about preparing to perform on the world stage with an injury and knowing we weren’t quite as fit as we would have liked to be.

Photo Credits: Vekassy ICF

We would get the surgery to get it fixed after the World Champs. Athletes rarely always line up at 100% so the chance to practice and learn from the experience was too valuable to miss.

My teammates were amazing, supporting me and helping me in the usually stressful last few days before competition. The banter about the mobility scooter I was now forced to use helped keep the mood light. My focus was now about thriving in this situation and being the best athlete I could.  My teammates Charlotte & Jeanette had been pushing me all year with us grabbing the gold & silver at every major competition – no mean feat given the progression of our fast-moving sport.

So, as I lined up I knew it would be the toughest races of my life, but line up I did, confident that I had battled the demons of self-doubt that rise their ugly heads when injury strikes, having conquered the fear of what might or might not happen and totally relaxed and focussed on delivering the best 200m I could.

And that’s exactly what I did. I couldn’t have imagined being able to feel that relaxed and ready when we were faced with the injury news a week earlier, but I did and I was taking home – with a silver & gold medal tucked in my bag – a horrifically painful wrist but a huge smile of pride as I travelled back to face the unknown as we headed into surgery….

Emma Wiggs MBE became a seven-time World Champion by picking up gold with a dominant performance in the VL2 final at the 2018 Paracanoe World Championships. Emma also secured Silver in the Women’s KL2 and was part of a Great Britain team that topped the medal table at the championships with seven medals.

Emma showed why she is at the top of her sport with a fine victory in the VL2 final ahead of her teammate Jeanette Chippington, despite an ongoing wrist injury that has plagued her training in recent weeks. She finished over a boat length clear in a time of 57.766 seconds to take her seventh paracanoe world title.

“This is my second world title in the Va’a, so I’m really chuffed about that. Injuries are irrelevant and if you’re there on the start line, then you’re there to race with whatever you’ve got and that’s what I did. I’ll go away and have a few weeks off, then I’ll be back in training, working hard for the team and to keep paracanoe moving forward.”

Check out Emma’s full post-race interview by clicking here.

The previous day, in the race billed as the ‘battle of the Brits’, Emma was edged out into second by 0.7 seconds by her teammate Charlotte Henshaw in what was a thrilling race in Portugal. After the race, Emma was understandably delighted for her teammate who had been pushing her on the water all season and made no excuses despite her disrupted training schedule.

“I am genuinely chuffed to bits for Charlotte, she has worked really hard and we have both worked hard pushing each other and we have done what we wanted and taken the top two steps of the podium. Injuries are a part of spot, I did as best as I could, but I am not going to use it as an excuse. I will be back even stronger next year.”

You can read more about Great Britain’s medal table topping performance at the Paracanoe World Championships by visiting www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

Emma Wiggs MBE, Paralympic Gold Medallist and six-time World Championship Paracanoeist, has been nominated for the National Lottery Athlete of the Year Award 2018 in recognition of her outstanding sporting success alongside her work outside of competition.

The annual National Lottery Awards look to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects, celebrating the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding. New this year is the Athlete of the Year category, which is a chance to celebrate the outstanding achievements of National Lottery funded athletes, whilst demonstrating the impact of National Lottery players on elite sport.

Emma has been shortlisted following a phenomenal 2017 season, in which she overcame a series of injuries to have her most successful year of racing. She became the undisputed world leader for KL2 paracanoe, holding the British, World, European and Paralympic titles – the first canoeist to do so. Emma also won the World title in the fastest ever recorded time for a female racer and since then, has become double European Champion following another major title win in June 2018.

Emma’s sporting achievements saw her being nominated in the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year awards; awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Chichester for her contribution to the sport and in recognition of her former career as a teacher; and an MBE for her Services to Canoeing.

Emma has also been shortlisted because of her work as a leading advocate of clean sports, for which she was nominated by the UK Anti-Doping Agency to attend the institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations internal athletes and leaders’ event as a panel member, the only British athlete to do so.

How to vote

The Athlete public vote runs from 1 August 2018 to 14 September 2018 and winners will receive a £5,000 cash prize to give to a National Lottery funded project of their choice, feature on the BBC One broadcast and take home a trophy.

You can vote for Emma in three ways:

  1. Online by clicking here and entering a valid email address or social media log-in (only one vote per email address or social media account is permitted per category)
  2. Telephone – call 0844 836 9731 (Emma’s dedicated phone number). Calls cost 5p but please be advised that connection charges may be applied by some networks, so please check with your provider.
  3. Twitter – Emma has her own unique hashtag, #NLAEmma, for the duration of the campaign. Anyone who tweets this hashtag or retweets a post containing this hashtag will register a vote.

Only one vote per account is allowed. Furthermore votes may not count from accounts with one or more of the following attributes:

  • Less than 10 followers
  • A poor follower to following ratio
  • No profile picture
  • Posts from bot accounts/clients

Show your support for Emma and get voting now!

Emma Wiggs MBE continued her fine start to the season by becoming double European Champion at the 2018 Paracanoe European Championships in Belgrade this weekend. Emma secured first place in both the Women’s KL2 and Va’a VL2 making her a five-time European Champion and taking her total medal haul at European Championships to seven.

She was part of a Great Britain team that finished top of the medal table at the event by some margin, with four golds, three silvers and a bronze.

Emma got her weekend off to the best start by powering through from lane eight to win the Va’a VL2 race in a time of 57.903, seven seconds faster than the winning time last year. This was an event that Emma had previously won in 2014 before focusing on her kayaking debut at the Paralympic Games in Rio. However, with the Va’a class back on the agenda for Tokyo 2020, Emma was delighted to make a winning return.

“I felt I hadn’t quite nailed the last part of the race but looking at the time I obviously did, so I am really pleased! I was hesitant about getting back in the Va’a, as it is a really technical boat, so to not just be competitive, but faster than I have ever gone before is down to the training we are doing as a programme.”

Check out the full race video by clicking here.

In her second race of the weekend, Emma retained her KL2 European Championship title in a time of 48.568, only the second ever sub 49 seconds time and 4.7 seconds faster than her Paralympic final in 2016. The race itself was dominated by Emma and her teammate Charlotte Henshaw, who finished just 0.43 seconds behind to retain her silver medal. This was Emma’s fifth European title and she was understandably excited about this achievement.

“I’m over the moon with the performance. Charlotte and I didn’t know who won when we crossed the line it was that close! It’s brilliant to win again and with a good time, especially as it is still early on in our plan. Our programme is working hard to always improve, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of UK Sport.”

Check out the full race by clicking here.

You can read more about Britain’s impressive medal table topping performance at the Paracanoe European Championships by visiting www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

Emma Wiggs is a Para-canoeist and Great British Meat Company ambassador who has had a quite phenomenal 12 months which has seen her retain the British, European and World Championship titles. Along with her Gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, this means she currently has the distinction of being a Grand Slam champion, a rarity in modern sport, and puts her amongst the greats of British sporting heroes, including athletics’ Sir Mo Farah and swimming’s Adam Peaty.

“I’ve found swapping from supermarket meat to quality meats from Great British Meat Company means I can ensure I’m getting brilliant quality protein by weight without the worry of losing it through water in cooking.”

In addition to her phenomenal success as an athlete, Emma is also a Youth Sport Trust athlete mentor and is committed to ensuring that the next generation of talented young athletes appreciate the importance of quality nutritional to give them a competitive edge. We recently spoke to Emma about what it takes to fuel such competition excellence.

What is a typical day training for you?

I train 6 days a week so its pretty hectic. During the winter months there is more focus on gym work to build lean muscle and strength and then as we approach the racing season towards in the Spring I look at transferring this new strength onto the water. I generally always have 3-4 training sessions in a day so fuelling well throughout the day is vital.

What do you eat on a typical training day?

  • Breakfast 1 – porridge with berries and nuts
  • Breakfast 2 – eggs, chicken/steak spinach and seed bread
  • Lunch 1 – Chicken Breast and rice or Lean Chilli and rice
  • Lunch 2 – Tuna and oatcakes or Yoghurt and protein
  • Supper – Lean Meat and lots of veggies with either potatoes or rice
  • Bedtime snack – yoghurt with almond butter and berries

I try to hit high levels of protein to help build lean muscle but the crucial thing is getting enough carbs in the winter alongside lean quality proteins to ensure I have an energy surplus.

What do you typically eat on a non-training/cheat day?

I sometimes find it hard to eat on a rest day (a Sunday) as I’ve been so strict trying to get all food in during the week, but I do try to keep up the regime of eating every couple of hours. I do have the occasional treat which would maybe be a homemade pizza or sometimes coffee and a cake if I’m out somewhere. Generally I’m pretty good all year round but I will admit to having more treats in the regeneration period in September.

What meal do you eat most often?

Probably chilli made with lean beef mince and rice. I do however eat chicken in some form everyday too! I’ve found swapping from supermarket meat to quality meats from Great British Meat Company means I can ensure I’m getting brilliant quality protein by weight without the worry of losing it through water in cooking.

What is your favourite meal?

Roast dinner of any kind! Lots of veggies and a good homemade gravy. I’m also really keen on a steak and often have one Friday nights as something to look forward to after a brutal day on the water.

Is what you eat essential to your training and recovery?

Completely essential!! I’ve been an elite athlete for quite a few years now but I’ve seen a real difference in my gains from the gym in the last few year when I’ve started to take nutrtion really seriously. I firmly believe that good diet and proper recovery is not only essential for performance but also general health and wellbeing, I’ve not had a cold for a couple of years now so touch wood the better diet is doing something right!

How do you stay motivated?

I think it’s vital to have the belief that you can improve and get better in whatever you are doing. I can’t control my opposition and how they perform but I can control my effort, my attitude and my performance on a daily basis. It motivates me that I know I believe I can be faster, stronger and better than I am now and that drives me on!

How do you like to relax?

I love to have a pyjama day at home. I think it probably sounds boring to some but I crave a quiet day at home after 6 days full on pushing myself in sessions and constantly eating! I also enjoy taking our dog for walks and having breakfast out!

What are the goals you are aiming for?

As always I’m aiming to be faster and stronger than last year. It’s only year 2 of the next cycle on the road to Tokyo 2020 so we are still in a building phase where we are trying to get as strong and big as possible while tweaking technical aspects. So I won’t be expecting any super fast times this year but I know it’s all part of a process and it will come! One thing is for sure 2018 will be exciting!

Follow Emma on Twitter @emwiggsy and Instagram @emmawiggs

Emma Wiggs receives honorary degree from University of Chichester

EMERGE Sports Management athlete Emma Wiggs received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Chichester, at a graduation ceremony this past Sunday.

Emma is a University of Chichester graduate herself having graduated with a degree in sports and exercise science in 2003, before qualifying as a teacher by gaining the Postgraduate Certificate in Education the following year. She was given an Honorary Doctorate of Education in recognition of her teaching career at Lavant House School, Chichester, and The Regis School in Bognor as well as her incredibly successful paracanoe achievements since she became a full-time athlete in 2012.

The accolade means a lot to Emma who has always held teaching close to her heart: “I am really proud to have been chosen for an Honorary Doctorate. The University of Chichester is a place that will always mean a lot to me as it encouraged me to achieve my aspiration of becoming a P.E teacher.”

This latest recognition comes after Emma was shortlisted for the Disability Sportswoman of the Year 2017 at last week’s Vitality Sportswomen of the Year Awards in London. Having had a phenomenal 12 months which has seen Emma retain her British, European and World Championship titles, Emma now holds the prestigious Grand Slam champion status, as she is the reigning Olympic, World and European champion, after her gold medal at Rio 2016.

Emma was amongst eleven influential figures being recognised for contributions to their fields, which also included Team GB sailors Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, as well as Olympic windsurfer Nick Dempsey. They joined more than 2,000 graduates at the Chichester Festival Theatre on Sunday 5 and Monday 6 November.

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

EMERGE Sport Management athlete Emma Wiggs MBE has made the shortlist for the Sunday Times Disability Sportswoman of the Year 2017.

Her nomination comes after a phenomenal 12 months which has seen Emma retain her British, European and World Championship titles. Those titles, along with her Gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, means she currently has the distinction of being a Grand Slam champion, a rarity in modern sport, and puts her amongst the greats of British sporting heroes, including athletics’ Sir Mo Farah and swimming’s Adam Peaty.

The awards, which are now in their 30th year, recognise the outstanding contribution to sport made by elite athletes, coaches, administrators, community volunteers and inspirational women. The Sportswomen Awards are among the most prestigious and influential in the British sporting calendar and are supported by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, UK Sport, Sport England and Women in Sport.

Following an open public vote for nominations, which closed at midday on Monday 25th September, a panel of experts narrowed the nominees down to a final shortlist for each award category which were announced yesterday. The other nominees for the award are Emma’s British paracanoe teammate Jeanette Chippington, wheelchair sprinter Hannah Cockroft, and sprinter Sophie Hahn.

Speaking after learning of her nomination, Emma said; “I am incredibly proud to be nominated for the Sunday Times Disability Sportswoman of the Year award, and want to thank everyone who voted for me. I have trained so hard this year, especially the long hours in the gym working on getting stronger, so it’s been a great seeing the hard work pay off on the water. I’m honoured to be shortlisted alongside my teammate Jeanette as well, demonstrating the strength of British paracanoeing at the moment, and the great support team we have in place.”

Last year’s Disability Sportswoman of the Year award was won by parasport sprinter and para-cyclist Kadeena Cox, and other previous winners include wheelchair tennis player Jordanne Whiley and Paralympic swimmer Stephanie Slater.

The other awards up for grabs this year are the coveted Sportswoman of the Year, Young Sportswoman of the Year, Team of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award and The Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration. There is also a special community award, which will honour an individual who has actively engaged different groups of people within their community through sport. A two-week public vote for the Community Award is currently underway via the Sportswoman of the Year website.

A full list of nominees for all the awards can be seen below:

The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year

Elinor Barker (Track Cycling)

Elise Christie (Short-Track Speed Skating)

Jodie Taylor (Football)

Tammy Beaumont (Cricket)

Johanna Konta (Tennis)

Bianca Walkden (Taekwondo)

Young Sportswoman of the Year

Freya Anderson (Swimming)

Ellie Downie (Artistic Gymnastics)

Millie Knight (Para-Skiing)

Sammi Kinghorn (Para-Athletics)

Disability Sportswoman of the Year

Emma Wiggs (Canoeing)

Jeanette Chippington (Canoeing)

Sophie Hahn (Athletics)

Hannah Cockroft (Athletics)

The Awards will be held at a ceremony in central London, on Thursday 26th October, and broadcast live from 8pm on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Action.

For more information on the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year Awards, please visit www.sportswomanoftheyear.co.uk.

Emma Wiggs Meat Company

The Great British Meat Company, Britain’s #1 online butcher, has announced the UK’s #1 female paracanoeist Emma Wiggs MBE, as a brand ambassador.

On Friday (24 August 2017) Emma completed the calendar Grand Slam of major Para-canoe titles as she took her fifth successive world KL2 gold in the Czech Republic, to make her the current British, European, World and Paralympic Champion.

The link-up demonstrates the Great British Meat Company’s continued support of fuelling performance athletes with fresher, tastier meat.

Famed for her dedication and desire to win, Emma is natural choice to represent the Great British Meat Company. In addition to her phenomenal success as an athlete, she is a Youth Sport Trust athlete mentor and is committed to ensuring that the next generation of talented young athletes appreciate the importance of quality nutritional fuel to give them a competitive edge.

Talking about her new partnership with Great British Meat Company, Wiggs comments “I’m honoured to be working with Great British Meat Company. My training regime means I eat a lot of high protein meals and have a real passion for cooking and nutrition, and knowing that the meat I use is British and from assured high welfare farms is really important to me.”

Sam Wass, Director of the Great British Meat Company, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Emma on board the GBMC family. She is a fantastic role model for aspiring athletes and we’re looking forward in helping to fuel her continued success”.

As part of her partnership with the Great British Meat Company, Emma will be sharing her favourite recipes, cooking tips and pre and post training meals – make sure you stay up to date with the latest news and information from GBMC by following us on Twitter (@gbmeatco) and Instagram (greatbritishmeatco) or liking our Facebook page (/GreatBritishMeatco) . You can also follow Emma Wiggs on Twitter (@emwiggsy) and Instagram (@emmawiggs).

EMERGE Paracanoeist Emma Wiggs MBE dominated the field to win her sixth ICF Paracanoe World Championship title in Racice, Czech Republic.

Leaving the rest of the field in her wake, Emma took home the gold in record breaking 49.947 in the Women’s KL2 200m, her fifth gold in this event in successive years. Wiggs finished almost two seconds ahead of the rest of the field, with British team mate Nicola Paterson finishing strong to clinch silver.

Emma, the former sitting volleyball player now holds the grand slam of KL2 titles, having topped the podium at the European Championships earlier this year and at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where paracanoe made its debut. She is also the world record holder and reigning British Champion.

Having had a broken finger, as well as rib and elbow injuries this year, Emma’s preparation has been far from ideal. However, with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, she has been determined to push on and prepare as best she can to start the new cycle off with positive performances.

On her victory, she said: “I can’t believe it, what a year. It is brilliant to hold all the titles.

“I felt quite strong through the race but I’ve had a lack of speed work this year due to injuries so to win it in a build year is more than I could’ve asked for. My coach Matt has been an absolute legend this year.

“This has been the toughest year of my career. After the Paralympics everyone is on my tail and I feel the pressure but I want to keep performing and will do as long as I have a good race in me. This has probably been the most satisfying title so far.

“I feel proud and honoured to be part of the team and to sit on the podium with my team mate Nicola is great.”

EMERGE athlete Emma Wiggs attended an evening with the Foreign Exchange team at Barclays Bank at the beginning of July, in which she spoke to them about her story of success against adversity through sheer determination.

Emma, who was 18 when she went on a GAP year to Australia and contracted a virus that initially paralysed her and left her with irreparable damaged nerves in her legs, has gone on to great success as a Para-canoeist, winning Paralympic gold at Rio 2016. In her talk, she explained how she didn’t let what happened to her get in the way of her ambitions of pursuing a career as a P.E teacher, and eventually become a full-time athlete winning multiple World, European and Paralympic titles.

It is not the first time Emma has been invited to speak to Barclays staff, and speaking after Emma’s latest talk, Barclays MD Mimi Rushton said: “Emma did an outstanding job once again. In the talk, Emma combined empathy with motivation in a talk which transcended sport.”

After the talk, Emma joined the Barclays Marco team (who deal with foreign exchange, interest rates sales and trading) at a charity Dragon Boat Race raising money for Light The Night. Organised by blood cancer charities Bloodwise and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Light The Night is a series of fundraising events, including a charity walk around the Wharf, to help support research into cures for blood cancers. For the last three years the wider Barclays Macro team has supported the campaign, and Emma was a welcomed addition to the support team for this year’s race, as well as being on hand to help distribute the medals to the winners.

Commenting afterwards Emma said: “It’s always a pleasure to speak to the Barclays teams, and if I can pass on some of the things I’ve learned about dealing with adversity and finding motivation to push yourself then I’m grateful to be able to do that.”

“The charity boat race for Light The Night was also an honour to be a part of, it’s a fantastic way to raise funds for a great cause. I helped out the Barclays team as much as I could without actually jumping on board!”

If you would like to know more about how Emma can inspire, challenge and motivate your workforce, then please contact Jenny Forbes at jenny@emergesportsmanagement.co.uk or on 07956 040340.