‘In a good place’: Stockport GB paracanoe talent Beighton paddles towards Paralympic qualification ahead of world championships

Paralympic medallist Nick Beighton believes he’s at the top of his game ahead of this month’s World Championships in Szeged.

The 37-year-old is a former Captain in the Royal Engineers and made an instant impact following his transition to the sport from rowing in 2014, raring to go following a prolonged bout of intense preparation.

Having finished fourth in the KL2 classification at May’s European Championships in Poznan, Beighton is hopeful he can challenge at the top end of the ranks in Hungary from August 21.

“It’s the pinnacle of our season, so everything’s been geared towards this since October and it’s really exciting to be getting to the business end of it now,” said the Stockport-born athlete.

“I went to Rio without much of a run-in, so we almost went back to the drawing board after the Paralympics in 2016.

“We’ve had a re-build over the last few years and it feels like it’s all coming to fruition now which is really positive.

“I feel I’m in a good place, the important thing is just to go and show it on that big stage in a few weeks.

“We were lucky enough to do a World Cup event out in Szeged last year which has helped with the preparation and I just can’t wait to get going.”

Alongside personal ambitions in Szeged, Beighton will be vying to qualify a British boat for the Tokyo Paralympics next summer by finishing in the top six in the KL2 class alongside team-mate David Phillipson.

Beighton insists that helping the squad achieve Project9 – the goal to qualify boats in all nine paracanoe events at the Paralympics – remains the priority for the whole team.

“The excitement of it being the qualification event for Tokyo just adds a bit of spice to it,” he said.

“We’ve talked about it as a squad and all of us just want to get those quota places so we can go over there and fight it out as a team.

“Inherently it’s an individual sport but it’s nice to know you’re part of something bigger and there’s been a real growth in the team since the Rio Games.”

Having tasted success at the last edition of the Paralympics, Beighton admits he has one eye on Tokyo but acknowledges the competition in the KL2 class is tougher than ever.

He said: “Ultimately the Paralympic Games is our main event and is what we do it for.

“The landscape has definitely changed – it’s become a lot more competitive and challenging – but I’d love to get the chance to go out there, give my best performance and challenge for another Paralympic medal.”

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