Having swapped his tennis racquet for a paddle, three-time Paralympian David Phillipson is hoping to establish himself on paracanoeing’s global stage at this month’s Sprint World Championships.

Since transitioning to the sport after the Rio Games, the 30-year-old has made rapid progress and was crowned the 2018 European champion in the VL3 classification.

Now focusing on the kayak competition, Phillipson followed up last year’s 12th-place finish at the Worlds by finishing fifth at May’s European Championships in the KL2 class.

Phillipson feels stronger than ever ahead of the World Championships and is confident he can mix it with the best in Hungary.

He said: “I’m feeling really good in the boat and I’m hoping for some good results now.

“I’ve been posting some good times, I’ve been part of some really strong training regimes and I’m getting stronger in the gym.

“Paracanoeing suits me down to the ground and I seem to be doing really well with it as well.

“I’m really looking forward to going over to Hungary and there’s going to be huge crowds over there which will be great.”

While Phillipson harbours personal ambitions, he insists the team’s priority remains achieving Project9 – the goal to qualify boats in all nine paracanoe events by finishing in the top six in Szeged.

He will compete alongside GB team-mate Nick Beighton in the KL2 category and explains the positive squad environment is key to the whole team’s success.

“The main objective is to qualify the boat and then anything that happens after that is a bonus,” he said.

“The atmosphere is great. With a centralised programme we all help each other out, keep the team spirit up and push one another in training.

“Working with Nick has helped me a lot – when I first started, I was looking up to him, but now I’m quite close to him and we’re pushing each other which is really positive.”

Despite recognising the difficulty of making the one GB spot in the class at Tokyo 2020 should the boat qualify, Phillipson admits he has one eye on returning to the Paralympic stage with his new sport.

“Hopefully Tokyo’s a goal for me,” he said. “I can see a light at the end of the tunnel after all my hard work.

“It’s completely different to tennis in that we only find out who’s going at the last minute, but I definitely have my heart set on a seat on that plane.

“We’re focused on the Worlds now, but we’ll set new goals for winter training and then go from there.”

British Canoeing is the national governing body for paddlesports in the UK. Our purpose is to: Inspire people to pursue a passion for paddling; for health, enjoyment, friendship, challenge and achievement. Find out more onbritishcanoeing.org.uk