New Zealand’s canoe slalom star Luuka Jones wasn’t able to deliver a kayak Olympic medal today, but still finished with a highly creditable sixth placing.

Jones, the silver medallist in this K1 event in Rio four years ago, looked comfortable in the semi-finals when she was clocked at 106.97s. With the top 10 semi-finalists progressing to the final, she made it comfortably in fifth position. The fastest semi-finalist was Australian Jessica Fox, who looked unbeatable in recording 103.85s.

A feature of the final was that so many of the paddlers were notably slower than they had been in their semi-final just a few hours earlier.

Jones managed 110.67s and the event was eventually won by Ricarda Funk of Spain in 105.50s, with popular Spaniard Maialen Chourraut second in 106.63s. Fox was disappointed to manage just third in a time of 106.73s, which included a four-second penalty after she clipped a couple of gates.

Jones was unhappy with her showing in the final. “I got caught up in some time losses at the start, so I  tried to cut my lines to shave off a bit of time and that inevitably leads to more mistakes, which is what happened. I’m kicking myself for that. I certainly didn’t paddle my best out there today.”

The 32-year-old from Tauranga has competed in this event at four Olympics, stretching back to Beijing in 2008. Her placings have been 21, 14, 2, 6 and it can truly be said she has carried the canoe slalom event in New Zealand.

Her Tokyo Olympics are not yet over. She now turns her attention to the canoe (C1) event on the slalom course.

For onlookers perhaps the easiest way to differentiate between the two slalom events is that in the kayak competitors sit, whereas in the canoe they kneel.


Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games Luuka Jones Canoe/Kayak - Slalom
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