19 August 2019
Deadly duo Henshaw & Wiggs descend on World Championships
Experienced head Emma Wiggs and new kid on the block Charlotte Henshaw are feeding off each other’s competitive instincts ahead of the Paracanoe Sprint World Championships.
Henshaw, who transferred from swimming after the 2016 Paralympics, is in the KL2 mix alongside Paralympic champion Wiggs for the global gathering in Szeged, Hungary.
While Wiggs has established herself as the one to beat in the VL2 class, reigning world and European champion Henshaw has emerged as favourite in the kayak.
And the 39-year-old insists working with Henshaw has only helped her own performances, while success for the whole squad remains the overarching priority.
“We know what we need to do out there,” said Wiggs. “The goal is to qualify as many boats as we can [for the Paralympics] by finishing in the top six – and I’m confident we’re in a strong position to do that.
“We’re really lucky that we’re centralised as a squad and that allows us to be world class every day.
It’s been a really challenging year so I’m thankful I’m even on the plane
“Charlotte’s flying at the moment. To have her around – and Jeanette Chippington in the va’a – means I’m surrounded by fantastic women who can inspire me and push me to hopefully get back to where I was.”
Mansfield-born Henshaw, 32, heads to the spiritual home of canoe sprint defending her KL2 world title and aiming to better last year’s bronze medal in the VL3.
She added: “Emma’s been very generous with her time and her knowledge, which she didn’t have to be – she knew I was going to be racing against her.
“We’ve showcased that you can harness a competitive rivalry in a friendly way and that only helps to push everyone on.”
Seven-time world champion Wiggs sustained a career-threatening wrist injury at the start of the year which kept her away from the water, having enjoyed a glittering career.
But the former sitting volleyball star proved she still has what it takes by claiming gold and silver medals at May’s European Championships in the VL2 and KL2 classifications respectively.
Henshaw is a double Paralympic medallist in the pool
She said: “It’s been a really challenging year so I’m thankful I’m even on the plane heading out there to line up.
“I’m still quite far off in the kayak at the minute, but the va’a is going well and I know that I can certainly be competitive.
“Hopefully I can deliver a performance which is back to where I’ve been before.
“Success at the Europeans was a great result given where I was in the winter, so if I can go and deliver performances like that and pick up a couple of medals, that would be beyond any of my expectations.
“Hungary’s the home of canoeing and I think there’s going to be around 30,000 people there so we’re really lucky to be able to go and experience that.”
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