Mike Dawson began the K1 canoe slalom competition in fine style today.
The Tauranga man had an excellent first run, taking 88.91s and incurring no penalties. It left him in fourth place, 2.06s behind Italian Giovanni de Gennaro.
On his second run, Dawson recorded a slightly slower 90.86s and slipped down the leaderboard to eighth.
However, with the top 15 of the 21-strong field qualifying, he finished the day in a strong position.
Dawson represented New Zealand at the London Olympic Games, where he was 15th.
He said he’d had a good day.
“Our sport is pretty cut-throat and one mistake can see you gone, so it was good to get through today.
“My first run was important. I felt good in the water and had a good feel straight away and it just flowed.”
He said it was a tough course. “It’s what we would call next level. It's a step up from London and very challenging. There are some places you can get in a lot of trouble.”
Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Mike Dawson