Péter Pál Kiss won the gold medal in the K-1 over 200 m at the Paralympics in Tokyo. Tamás Juhász was sixth in the same competition. The Hungarian favorite to win in KL1 – the category with the most severely injured athletes – who won the 2019 World Championships in Szeged and is a two-time European champion, already won smoothly in the heats on Thursday by winning his own race around two buoy lines and drove the fastest time.
This article was originally posted on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translation by Júlia Tar.
According to the international association, the 18-year-old kayaker is the youngest Paralympic winner in this sport.
Kiss was paralyzed in 2011 after a virus infection. The Guillain-Barré syndrome sometimes causes complete paralysis of the muscles and occurs after both bacterial and viral infections. After rehabilitation, he continued his education at an elementary school to improve mobility, where he was recommended to take up kayaking. At first, he wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea, but he persevered and fell in love with the sport during his first open training session on the Danube. On the advice of his trainer, he began kayaking competitions at the age of 14 and soon won gold and bronze medals at the Hungarian championships. In 2019 it was time for him to present himself on the international stage. He returned home from his first trip abroad as a European champion, and now he has won the fourteenth medal of the Hungarian delegation, the seventh gold.
Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI
After winning the gold medal, Kiss said he still could not grasp what he had achieved, adding that most of all he was happy that he had achieved what he had fought so much for.
After the World Cup and the European Championship, I definitely aimed to do well here. Of course, we didn’t predict this, but I didn’t want to slip on a banana peel here in the end.”
However, he added that despite being a favorite, it was difficult to win, because the weather was rainier and colder than expected.
I wasn’t expecting these conditions, I was expecting sunshine and much warmer weather…we’ve been preparing like this all summer and I think that affected my performance a little. I also had an injury, my elbow, which I felt when I warmed up. So there was a certain nervousness before the race.”
Photos by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI