Charlotte Henshaw proud to have done her bit for charity
Mansfield Paralympian Charlotte Henshaw believes the postponment of Toyko 2020 can work in her favour.
The para-canoeist's dreams of pursuing Paralympic gold were put on hold until 2021 due to COVID-19 and she was unable to paddle during strict lockdown.
Henshaw won swimming medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016, but has now switched to canoeing and was crowned double world champion in 2019.
And she believes an extra year will give her more time to learn about her new sport.
"We've got to manage our bodies and our energies through another 12 months of training, which is tough," she said.
"I've got another year to find ways to be even faster. I'm still relatively new in the sport and I think there's a lot more to get out of me with another 12 months.
"I am still learning in the sport and my trajectory in the sport could continue for several years to come, so there's no reason not to be excited for next year."
Henshaw has been using her time wisely to support local charitable causes.
She jumped on London Marathon's 2.6 Challenge with a video of acrobatic handstands and promoted charities The Sam White Legacy, Emily Harris Foundation and LimbPower on her social media profile.
"I think one of the really positive things to come out of this is that we've understood how powerful social media can be when it's used in the right way," said the 33-year-old, who has won two of the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since National Lottery funding was started in 1997.
"I was just trying to help out by promoting causes that are close to my heart and help raise awareness of smaller, local charities.
"We are very fortunate as athletes to have a platform. In sporting circles, we have a voice and its important to use that to try and help people and bring about change.
"I've always felt you should try and use that voice for good and leave your sport and society in a better place than you found it."
Sam White was a sports-mad boy from Newark who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died in 2013. His Legacy aims to make tumour treatment easier for local families.
The Emily Harris Foundation, named after Emily, who was born six weeks prematurely and passed away in 2007, supports the Neonatal unit at King's Mill Hospital.
LimbPower is a national charity that encourages amputees like Henshaw to engage in sports and physical activities.
"I've been aware of Sam White for seven years and they do incredible things. What they've gone through as a family is horrific but they're using to make things better for other families," said Henshaw.
"I don't have personal experience of Sam or Emily's situations, but they've struck a chord with me and I've got to know the people that run them.
"The beauty of charity is that you learn about them, it can create a spark and that's a great thing. Hopefully what I've done has gone some way to helping them."
Henshaw is one of more than 1,100 athletes, funded by National Lottery, on UK Sport's World Class Programme that allows her to train full-time and benefit from pioneering technology.
No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing The National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/stories/track-to-tokyo and #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo