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Gold for Henshaw and Silver for Gordon on day 1 of Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships

Charlotte Henshaw and Hope Gordon stormed to a British 1-2 in the women’s VL3 final to claim Great Britain’s first medals of the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in Copenhagen.

20210916 00088 Copenhagen

Henshaw successfully defended her title with a dominant race in the final, finishing in 59.33 seconds, 1.36 seconds ahead of Gordon.

Elsewhere 14 British boats made it into finals with further chances of British 1-2s in five of them.

Henshaw and Gordon had earlier advanced to the VL3 final after coming through as the top qualifiers in their heats and with a British gold and silver on the cards, they didn’t disappoint.

Gordon claimed her first World Championship medal crossing the line in a time of 1:00.69, meanwhile Henshaw added a fourth World Championship title to her collection.

Speaking after her win, Henshaw said: 

It feels brilliant to defend my title. the Va’a has always been something that has been a bit of a bonus event for me so I haven’t really done a lot of it leading into the Games.

– Charlotte Henshaw

“But I was really excited to come and race and just enjoy myself and that’s what I did. Thankfully, I was able to get over the line first, but I think what is more important, is firstly I’m very happy for Hope getting her first world medal. I think that is brilliant and it is pleasure to be a part of that experience with her.  

“And also, I think it shows how competitive the VL3 women is already and it is not confirmed as a Paralympic event yet and it is exciting to hopefully get that even more competitive over the next couple of seasons and hopefully myself and Hope can be part of it.”

The 27-year-old Gordon said: “I think it is quite cool that my first international medal is going to be on the podium with Charlotte because it is Charlotte that got me into the sport.

She shared an advert about paracanoe so it is thanks to Charlotte that I started so it will be cool to be beside her on the podium to get my first medal.

– Hope Gordon
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The pair both have the chance to double their tally at this year’s World Championships with both qualifying for further finals in a busy day of action.

Henshaw will look to add KL2 World Championship gold to her Tokyo Paralympic title but will face stiff competition from three-time champion Emma Wiggs.

In the KL3, Gordon will go alongside Laura Sugar in the final with Sugar aiming to double-up on her Tokyo gold.

In the men’s VL3, Jack Eyers and Stuart Wood (Bath) can emulate today’s 1-2 after both qualifying for the final top in their heats, something Tokyo bronze medallist Rob Oliver did in the men’s KL3.

He will be joined by Jonny Young (CANI) who came through his semi-final in third place to make Saturday’s showpiece.

Two more Brits made it through to finals with Dave Phillipson following where Nick Beighton led in the men’s KL2.

The pair will go for World Championship glory on Saturday but Ian Marsden (Trentham) was desperately unlucky to miss out on the KL1 final, finishing fourth in his semi-final.

Stewart Clark (Chelmsford) also faces a semi-final to decide his fate after finishing sixth in his heat of the men’s VL2.

Meanwhile in the canoe sprint, recently formed duo Deborah Kerr (Strathclyde) and Emma Russell (Chelmsford) had a World Championship debut to remember, putting in a stunning performance to secure the only automatic qualifying spot through to the women’s K2 500m A Final.

In the K1 1000m, Richmond's Lizzie Broughton reached Saturday’s final having finished second in her heat with an excellent performance, while Emily Lewis (Worcester) finished in sixth in the women’s K1 200m so will be back in semi-final action tomorrow.

In the last race of the day which was delayed due to technical issues, Charlie Smith (Leighton Buzzard) mounted a stirring comeback to qualify for the men’s K1 1000m A final, taking the final spot in semi-final 1.

I'm really pleased with that semi-final performance. First senior World Championships and to make the A final is great. It was nice to put down a good race and I am looking forward to Saturday.

– Charlie Smith
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"I was ready to go, but the technical issues were a bit of an inconvenience. It was key for me to get back to the pontoon, switch off and make sure I was ready to go. The camp is relaxed and made it really easy for me to refocus."

Brothers Dan and Matt Johnson both from Chelmsford Canoe Club finished fifth in their heat of the men’s K2 1000m to advance to the semi-finals.

Zoe Clark (Royal) and Enya Dale (Falcon) finished ninth in the women's K2 200m, which saw them miss out on a semi-final berth. The pair will return later in the week as they will also go in the women’s K4 500m.

British quartet of Smith, Dan Atkins (Reading), Trevor Thomson (Ealing) and Philip Miles (Royal Leamington Spa) finished sixth in the men's K4 500m to advance to the semi-finals, just a few weeks after finishing fifth at the U23 World Championships.

In the canoe sprint, Katie Reid (Forth) advanced to the final of the C1 500m after finishing third in her heat, she will race again on Saturday.

Beth Gill (Chelmsford) and CANI's Afton Fitzhenry finished sixth in their C2 500m semi-final to miss out on the showpiece, Gill will have another chance to make a final in the C1 5000m.