Dream come true as Charlotte Henshaw wins gold at Tokyo Paralympics

Mansfield’s Charlotte Henshaw says it is a dream come true after she won gold at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Saturday, 4th September 2021, 3:05 pm
Charlotte Henshaw celebrates her gold medal success. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Henshaw, who switched from swimming to canoeing, won gold in the KL2 kayak gold.

It means the World canoeing champion Charlotte Henshaw now has a full set of Paralymic medals - adding to the silver and bronze she won in the SB6 breaststroke.

She said: “"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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"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."

Henshaw made the bold decision to give up swimming in 2008 after falling out of love with training.

2016 was to be Henshaw's final year of competitive swimming, during which she won European Gold in Madeira, Portugal in May.

She made the switch to canoeing in 2017 and was an instant success, winning a silver medal at the European Championships in Bulgaria.

She added World Cup and European silver medals to her tally in the 2018, before she became world champion in the KL2 200m - her first international Paracanoe title.

"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."

Henshaw enjoyed her breakthrough year in 2019, when she was internationally undefeated in the KL2 200m event for the entire racing season, winning Gold medals at the European Championships, ICF World Cup and ICF World Championships.

She also won World gold in the VL3 200m events at the World Championships. Henshaw also posted World leading times in both the KL2 and VL3 200m events at the ICF World Championships in Szeged, Hungary in August 2019.