Para-canoe World Championships: Charlotte Henshaw wins first gold

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Portugal
Henshaw and Wiggs
Henshaw (left) and Wiggs after the race - "What Charlotte's achieved is great for GB," said Wiggs

Britain's Charlotte Henshaw secured her maiden Para-canoe world title with an impressive 200m victory over Paralympic champion Emma Wiggs in Portugal.

Henshaw, who claimed VL1 bronze on Wednesday, finished the KL2 200m race in 52.627 seconds, 0.775 secs ahead of silver medallist Wiggs.

The British pair have developed a rivalry since former swimmer Henshaw switched sports in 2017.

"It's massive for GB to be one and two on the podium," Henshaw told BBC Sport.

"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 definitely made the right decision."

Wiggs had won the previous three world titles in the event but suffered ligament damage in her right wrist after dislocating a bone just two weeks before the championships in Montemor-o-Velho.

However the 38-year-old refused to use her injury as a reason for the result.

"Injuries are part of the sport and I won't dwell on that because Charlotte absolutely nailed it," she said.

"I'm chuffed with how I delivered it today and with what she's achieved, which is great for GB."

Wiggs will return for the VL2 200m final on Saturday, when she will face fellow Paralympic champion Jeanette Chippington.

The VL2 - canoe - is one of three events added to the Paralympic programme for Tokyo 2020 following the sport's Games debut at Rio 2016.

Ian Marsden, who claimed bronze at Rio 2016, finished sixth in the men's KL1 final after an injury and illness-hit season.

The World Championships feature both disabled and able-bodied events with Olympic medallists Liam Health and Jon Schofield set to begin their campaigns at the weekend.

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