Charlotte Henshaw ready to take on the world in her new sport

Charlotte Henshaw, who has made the successful switch from swimming to paracanoeing.
Charlotte Henshaw, who has made the successful switch from swimming to paracanoeing.

Paralympic Games medallist Charlotte Henshaw, of Mansfield, says she is ready for her next challenge in her new sport of paracanoeing.

Henshaw, 31, has switched to canoeing from swimming, in which she won medals at two Paralympics and also at World and European Championships.

She made an immediate impact with a silver medal on her international debut at the European Championships in July. Now it’s time to tackle the World Championships, which start in the Czech Republic on Thursday.

In an interview with the website of the Paralympic movement, Henshaw said: “I never expected to be going to the World Championships this year, so it is very much a bonus.

“It’s another opportunity for me to learn and observe, and also to make the most of not having too much pressure put on myself because I’m sure that comes with success.

“I am looking forward to going out there and racing a different boat. I raced a kayak at the Europeans, but I’m in the Va’a in the Czech Republic.

“That will be another leaning experience for me, so I’m taking it all in.”

Henshaw’s silver at the Europeans was a surprise because she had not been paddling for long and was still learning the sport.

She added: “It was nice to go out to a competition and not feel any pressure. It’s a long time since I felt like that.

“I think that made it more of a surprise because it’s not what I anticipated at all.”

Henshaw, whose lower legs were amputated at the age of 18 months, had been a swimmer since she was young, but paracanoeing has given her fresh enthusiasm and she has no regrets about making the switch.

“I was a bit apprehensive at first because it was a big life-change for me,” she said. “But it has worked really well.

“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.”