Luuka Jones bounced back to her best form in her second run today in the women’s canoe slalom.

The 32-year-old New Zealander, a silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, had a moderate first run, but was much better second time around. The Tauranga paddler finished the day in third place with the promise of better things to come.

In her first run, Jones’ total of 110.22 included 4 penalty seconds and left her in 10th place.

After a session reviewing video of the first run, she improved markedly next time around. Not only was she quicker – with no time penalties – but she cut back on her errors and her total of 101.72 left her well-placed going into Tuesday’s next stage.

The competition is led by Australian Jessica Fox, who was 3.26s quicker than Jones.

Jones said later she was delighted to be out competing again.

“To be honest, it seems like we’ve been waiting forever for the Olympics,” she said. “I dusted off a few cobwebs out there. It felt really special to be on the Olympic start line again after all the uncertainty over the past year.”

Jones felt her lines were not quite right on her first run, and tightened things up for her second attempt. “There were still some mistakes. It wasn’t me at my best, but I know I can improve on that, and it was encouraging.”

Jones said she felt no extra pressure having won a medal in Rio. “It’s a new competition. Having said that, I’m very happy where I am. Third place at this stage is a good position to be in.”

The top 24 of the 27 starters progressed to Tuesday’s racing, but Jones has signalled clearly she is one of the leading contenders.

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