Charlotte Henshaw says World Championship win vindicates move away from swimming

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Charlotte Henshaw says her World Championship win has fully vindicated her shock decision to switch from swimming to Paracanoeing.

The Mansfield star bagged gold medal glory in the KL2 200m category in Portugal this week ahead of GB team-mate Emma Wiggs after a thrilling final.

Henshaw surprisingly switched from the pool to the river back in 2017 in a bid to finally bag an elusive World Champioship gold medal.

It followed a memorable swimmimng career which saw her win medals at two Paralympics and also at World and European Championships.

“I have waited a long time to have that World Champion title attached to my name and I have really enjoyed this change in sport,” she said.

“I made the right decisiom to move sports. I came close to being a world champion a few times in swimming but I wasn’t quite there - but I knew I was capable.

“I could have stayed in swimming as I was a consistent medallist, but I knew I’d peaked and at 31 I’m still improving in this sport, which is really exciting.

“I had been swimming for Britain for nearly ten years and swimming had been my life since I was four.

“But the opportunity to do canoeing came at the right time, and it has given me a new enthusiasm for training, which is really important when you’re doing it six days a week.

“I was a bit apprehensive at first because it was a big life-change for me. It has worked really well. I definitely made the right decision.”

Henshaw, whose lower legs were amputated at the age of 18 months, was also quick to praise all the staff at British Canoeing who had helped make her dream come true.

“It was a amazing race and the fact that we have to British ladies on the podium is absolutely what we had intended coming into this championship and we have managed to deliver on that,” she said.

“It goes some way to repaying all the hard work that people put in at British canoeing to get us into the best position to race against the rest of the world.

“We would not be here without them, they support team, the people out here and the people back home are absolutely amazing.”

Henshaw made an immediate impact with a silver medal on her international debut at the European Championships in July.