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Paralympic gold for Charlotte Henshaw

Posted onPosted on 4th Sep

Mansfield’s Charlotte Henshaw completed a full set of Paralympic medals after winning kayak gold at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday.

It meant the world champion now has a full set of Paralympic medals after winning SB6 breaststroke silver and bronze in London and Rio before switching sports to the KL2 kayak.

The Paracanoeing star pipped teammate and defending Paralympic title holder Emma Wiggs at Sea Forest Waterway.

Henshaw has taken the sport by storm since switching from the pool in early 2017 and completed the 200m in a personal best time of 50.760 seconds.

She also shrugged off having surgery last Christmas to claim gold.

“I didn’t switch sports to win a gold medal but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to complete the set,” said 34-year-old Henshaw, who had both legs amputated above the knee aged 18 months after she was born with bilateral tibial hypoplasis.

“It’s lovely with a bronze and a silver but it looks much better with one of each colour.

“You always dream about it, you have to otherwise you wouldn’t put yourself through this. It was a cracking race and Emma is such a fearsome competitor, she’s won everything. She never gives in.”

Five years ago she had never sat in a kayak but swiftly developed a passion for paracanoe after quitting swimming.

“I knew I wasn’t done being an athlete – I knew that I had untapped ability,” she said. “I tried a few sports but canoeing was the one I loved right from the get-go. I got in a boat in January 2017 and I’ve never looked back. It was clearly the right move.

“I was in hospital just before Christmas, so I missed a good chunk of training over the winter.

“It was tough to say I’d have the surgery in a Games year, but it was what I needed to do for my health.”