Blake Haxton won silver in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games 200 meter va'a canoe sprint today, just a week after placing 10th in pararowing. Haxton is the only dual sport athlete at these Games.
Va'a is a new event for the 2020 Games, raced in an outrigger canoe with a pontoon on one side, which has origins in Polynesia.
Haxton took up canoeing in 2019 and did not expect to progress so quickly, originally planning to try for Paris 2024, but clearly was ready to race this year. Haxton outlined the tactical differences in his new discipline.
"In rowing 2,000 meters in 10 minutes you're not gonna decide the race in four or five strokes," he told TeamUSA. "You won't decide it at the start, and more or less you can make a few mistakes along the way and probably have the same result. (Canoe) is not like that all. You really need to be urgent, get on the front end and just try to hang on at the finish, so it's definitely a shift in attitude a little bit."
Haxton also noted the disadvantage that amputees have in the para single, in which non-amputees can lever against their legs and get more length despite not specifically using their legs to propel the boat.
Read more about Haxton's decision to take up canoeing here.