You'd be forgiven for thinking Stewart Clark had never been away from paracanoeing’s world stage, as he secured victory in the VL2 200m B final in Szeged.

The 54-year-old last competed at the Sprint World Championships seven years ago, and had even walked away from the sport in 2016 after being dropped from the national squad.

But the Chelmsford athlete was drafted back into the fold last year to compete in the va’a and he made his mark among the global elite with a time of 55.54 seconds to finish 10th overall.

Clark admits he was nervous ahead of the competition in Hungary, but explains it was great to back competing at the top level.

And having recorded a personal best in the heats, he insists he is focused on using the experience to kick on ahead of next summer’s Paralympic Games.

“It’s been a really fun week,” he said. “It’s great competing in Hungary and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“Coming into the competition, I felt a bit anxious – I’d posted some good times back at home, but I wasn’t sure how that’d compare with everyone else after so long away.

“I’m really happy with the win in the B final – I stuck to my original plan and it paid off.

“It was great to get a PB as well. I would’ve liked to have gone a bit faster again, but I couldn’t quite replicate my previous performance.

“Going forward, I just plan to work really hard over the winter period now ready for the New Year.

“Selection for the Paralympics is in May, and then it’ll all be about getting ready for Tokyo. I can’t wait.”

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