Mansfield’s Charlotte Henshaw proud to take gold at Paracanoe World Championships

editorial image

The job is far from done insists new global champion Charlotte Henshaw despite a perfect start to her Paracanoe World Championships.

Mansfield’s Henshaw bagged bronze in the VL3 event last year but emphatically stormed to gold in Szeged this time around, stopping the clock in 56.82 seconds for her second world record of the day.

That followed her strong introduction in the KL2 event, with the former Paralympic medal-winning swimmer winning her heat with clear water around her.

But it’s not just the times on the clock that Henshaw is focused on, hopeful her performances can prove ground-breaking across the next few years of paracanoeing.

“I’m a bit all over the place, this is a bonus event for me and I’m very proud to kick the team off with some silverware,” she said.

“We’ve got a job to do this week, my main task is to raise the profile of the VL3 event so that we can hopefully get it in the next Paralympic cycle.

“But it’s always great to get a win and beat people who have beaten you before, so on a personal level it’s very nice – but there’s still a lot to do ahead of the end of the week.

“Going in both events is a skill, and it’s one that you have to perfect. There are things that we can learn but it’s making sure we do so to make us as best we can be.

“I’ve been managed through the afternoon very well by British Canoeing and we’ve been able to get the results from it.”

Competing in both the VL3 and KL2 events is set to be both a physical and mental test for Henshaw, who knows what she’s letting herself in for in Hungary.

But with just a year to go until the next Paralympic Games, the Mansfield athlete knows now is the time to hone her skills ahead of Tokyo 2020.

The next move in her Paralympic preparation will come in Friday’s KL2 final, but not before an important day out of the boat in which she can reflect on what has gone so far.

She added: “You get the confidence from winning but the biggest thing is the time I put down, that was a big personal best and a world lead time, that’s giving me the most confidence for now.

“But it doesn’t matter what you do in qualification, it’s what you do in the main race and you have to go out there and do it at the end of the week. You can’t take anything for granted.

“Thursday is a rest day for me so it’s about refreshing the mind, that’s the biggest challenge in a competition like this – making sure you’re in the right frame of mind to approach each race.”

- 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 on britishcanoeing.org.uk.