SA’s Graham Paull qualifies for the Rio Paralympics

    Graham Paull from Emmarentia at the ICF Para-Canoeing World Cup in Duisburg where he achieved third place. Photo supplied.

    Graham Paull of the Dabulamanzi Canoe Club at Emmarentia Dam canoed his way to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in September.

    During the finals at the ICF Paracanoeing World Championships, the international sprint season kicked off in Germany on 16 May as South Africa’s Paull and Jono Wing battled with the best in the world, each with an eye on qualification for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in September.

    Paull said that his first day, on 16 May, was difficult for him. “The weather conditions were terrible as it was windy and cold,” he said. Even though the weather was not on his side, he managed third place and qualified to move into the semi-final the next day. Paull described his second day as very windy but he said that he did well as he took a couple of seconds off his record. This then pushed him to the finals on 18 May.

    In the finals, Paull managed to finish in seventh place, “I had a bad start to the race and had to play catch-up,” he said. He admitted that he could have done better, but he is happy he fulfilled his goal of qualifying for the Paralympics in Rio.

    Paull said that the experience was amazing and that he got the opportunity to meet other paddlers from around the world and get some knowledge from them. “Being on the world stage was incredible,” he said. Paull added that he started training again as soon as he came back from Germany. “I have a coach now which is a new thing for me because I have been training myself, and I am looking forward to Rio in September.”

    Paull, who has only been paddling for two years, has shown great potential and is hoping for the top three positions in Rio.

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