09:00AM, Friday 23 September 2016
Twenty years after winning her first Paralympic gold medal in swimming, Jeanette Chippington became the first ever canoe gold medal winner at a Games when she narrowly won the KL1 category at the Lagoa in Rio.
Maidenhead resident Chippington, 46, was up against strong opposition from Germany’s Edina Muller, but came through to win the 200m sprint by 0.114 seconds.
The two have been rivals all year and the destination of the gold medal was in doubt until the final stroke, in fact the German – who is 14 years younger – believed she had won.
“When we crossed the line the German girl screamed liked she’d won and I thought she’d got me on the line,” said
“I won’t believe it until I actually get that medal round my neck.”
In the qualification event the day before, Chippington had finished second fastest to Muller, but produced her best in the final.
“It just shows what’s achievable if you try something different and enjoy what you do – that’s what I tell my kids,” she continued.
“It is tough, it’s been so hard and last night I ran through that race about 200 times. But it’s all worth it!”
For Chippington, who is a member at Longridge Boat Club in Marlow, it is her third gold and 13th overall paralympic medal for ParalympicsGB hav- ing previously been a successful swimmer in five Paralympics before she retired after Athens 2004.
Chippington only took up paracanoeing in 2011 as a hobby, but excelled at the sport which made its debut in Rio.
Sophie Christiansen, who lives in Maidenhead, attributed her three gold medals in the dressage to her inspiration, team-mate Anne Dunham, 67, who won a second individual silver in Rio.
“I remember when I was 13 and started out in the sport,” she said. “She was always this top rider that I thought I would never beat.
“I was down seven, 10 per cent below her.
“I thought I would never do it. It’s thanks to Ann that I’m as good as I am now.
“Having that rivalry is really, really healthy.
“The fact that she is British is even better.
“It means we get the one, two.”
Maidenhead’s Tom Aggar came away from Rio with a bronze medal after finishing third in the ASMx1 single sculls final.
Aggar, a member of Marlow Rowing Club, won gold in Beijing eight years ago, but finished a disappointing fourth at London 2012.