MALLORY Franklin has opened her heart on the shock she feels having become a double world champion in canoe slalom.

Franklin, 23, won gold in the individual and team events at the World Championships in Pau last week.

The former sports student at Langley College, who had won the U23 title earlier in the season, posted a time of 109.09 seconds to finish more than four seconds ahead of her rivals.

Franklin told the Observer: “It was pretty cool. The course we paddled on was tough because the water fluctuates a lot and it was hard to adjust.

“I wasn’t at my best in the semi-final run and qualifying in 10th place was a little bit disappointing, yet in some respects it can be quite different to go down first in the final.

“It can be very loud in the venue late on in the competition but when you go down early there’s no need to worry about anyone and no-one is expecting a fast run.

“There were people capable of a good time coming down after me but I was relieved and quietly confident that I would medal, though I wasn’t expecting to finish first.

“The first two down after me made quite big mistakes so I knew there was a chance of a medal but it was crazy.

“The third done really well and, though they were up at some points, I was confident that I was in with a chance of a good result. I took two or three seconds out of the field on other areas of the course.”

The former Windsor resident continued: “I knew that I was capable of a good run if I could keep everything together.

“The water is so changeable there are fine lines in this sport. You can make one little mistake that will totally through you out.

“I went into the competition ranked third so a medal was possibility but the course and competition was strong. I just wanted to go out and have some fun.

“This result has exceeded my expectations and it’s definitely the best I’ve performed so far. I’ve won a few silver medals but the performances have been quite far off a win.

“To be U23 champion at the same time is very good as well. To have both titles is crazy and a bit of a shock.”

The World Championships marks the end of the canoe slalom season and, after a short break, Franklin will head to Australia for winter training.

Looking ahead to the new season, Franklin said: “I will go back up to number two in the world rankings now and am starting to close the gap, but it’s more competitive.

“The competition is so much stronger in Britain and the world now. There are lots of people capable. I'm out to get to number one in the world. That's the aim with the Tokyo cycle starting as well.

"But, this is a very competitive sport with fine margins, so you could be the best in the world and still not be number one."

Since graduating from her sports and exercise science course at Langley College in 2012, Franklin has represented Great Britain all over the world.

She has achieved three World Cup gold medals, two World Championship silver medals and a European Silver medal as well as winning gold in the C1 canoeing event at the 2016 World Cup in France.

Franklin also won the college’s Alumni of the Year Award in 2016 for her outstanding sporting achievements since her graduation.

Matt Beattie, sports lecturer at Langley College, said: “The College, and in particular our sports department, are extremely proud of Mallory and her achievements.

"She is a fantastic role model for young sportsmen and women everywhere, and a real inspiration to our current sports students.”

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