Israel's Paralympian Moran Samuel made a winning start at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France ©Getty Images

Israel's Moran Samuel made a winning start at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France, as he begun his bid to go one better than the silver medal she won in the arms and shoulders (AS) Para-women's single sculls last year.

Samuel, second at last year's World Championships in Amsterdam, held her lead through the body of the race and moved away from the rest of the field on her way to clocking a time of 5min 23.650sec in the third heat of the 1,000 metres race.

Italy’s Eleonora De Paolis followed a long way back in second, while Germany’s Sylvia Pille-Steppart came third.

A packed field of 15 nations was divided into three heats with the top three boats in each earning a place in the semi-finals.

The first heat saw Great Britain’s Rachel Morris sprint past Brazil’s Claudia Santos in the closing stages to seal victory, with London 2012 Paralympian Liudmila Vauchok completing the top three.

Morris admitted that she did not know that she had won until she crossed the line.

"I was just focussed on my own boat and in my own race," she said.

"I didn’t know that I was closing on them nor that I had won."

As for heat two, reigning world champion Birgit Skarstein of Norway cruised to success as the United States’ Jacqueline Kapinowski and South Africa’s Sandra Khumalo took second and third respectively.

Great Britain's Tom Aggar won the first heat in the Arms and Shoulders Para-men’s singles skulls
Great Britain's Tom Aggar won the first heat in the arms and shoulders Para-men’s singles skulls ©Getty Images

In the opening heat of the AS Para-men’s singles skulls, Britain’s Tom Aggar held a 33 stroke rate to stay ahead of Germany’s Johannes Schmidt, while China's Paralympic champion Cheng Huang followed in third.

"I’ve been working on getting out quicker", said Aggar, the Beijing 2008 Paralympic champion, who had had built up enough of a lead that he was able to drop his stroke rate to 27 in the latter part of the race.

"I’m pleased with today.

"That was a good start but there is still a lot to do."

Joining him in the semi-finals will be Russia’s Alexey Chuvashev, Australia’s reigning world champion Erik Horrie and America's Steven Haxton all of whom won their respective heats.

As for the trunk and arms Para-mixed double sculls, the Brazilian duo of Josiane Lima and Michel Gomes Pessanha crossed the line 0.26 seconds before France’s Perle Bouge and Stephanie Tardieu to secure a direct path to the final from the first heat. 

They will face Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross, the defending champions from Australia, who were made to work extremely hard for their heat-two victory by their counterparts from Ukraine, The Netherlands and Britain.

The top two from the three heats in the legs, trunk and arms (LTA) Para-mixed coxed four all qualified for the semi-finals, with Italy and South Africa the first to book their places.

World champions Britain edged Canada to win heat two, while France were the closest challengers to the triumphant US team in heat three.  

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