Canoe Kayak Slalom Wrap: Fox leads the way

Published 22 August 2016 (AEDT)

Jessica Fox competes during the Women's Kayak (K1) Final © 2016 Getty Images

CANOE/KAYAK: Jessica Fox became Australia’s most successful competitor in Olympic canoe slalom competition with her bronze medal in the K1 in Rio, backing up the silver medal she won in London.

In a tense final run in front of a number of vocal Australian supporters, the 22-year-old, who was 6th to go in the 10 woman final, set the fastest time in her run, only to see the judges (on review) penalise her two seconds for the faintest of touches to gate 22.

These two seconds cost her dearly, as she slipped from the provisional gold medal position to the silver slot, with a completed time 102.44, and then had to wait and watch the remaining paddlers navigate the course.

When the dust had settled, Fox remained on the podium with Spain’s Maialen Chourraut producing a magnificent run to claim gold with a time of 98.65, and New Zealand’s Luuka Jones second with 101.82.

Fox was delighted to once again return to the Olympic podium, and full of praise for the winner.

“I’m so happy to get a medal. It was a tough event and to walk away with a medal is something I’m proud of,” she said.

“I always thought that if I didn’t win I’d like it to be Maialen. We’ve been through so much together and were also on the podium together in London where I got silver and she got bronze so it’s great for her that she got the gold this time.

The young Australian has already set her sights on Tokyo, and has sent an ominous warning to her rivals.

“Well gold is the only one I don’t have in my collection so I’ll again to everything I can to complete the set.”

Fox’s chances of a gold medal might double in Tokyo, with the women’s C1 event set to be added to the program.

In the men’s program it was a case of contrasting fortunes for the two Australian competitors.

Ian Borrows advanced to the semi-finals in the Ci, where he fell an agonizing 0.09 of a second from advancing to the medal run, while a not completed gate cost Lucien Delfour in the men’s KI, with the 50 second penalty costing him any chance of getting through to the semis.

A stunned Delfour couldn’t believe his Olympic dream was over after two runs.

“I’m shattered, stunned,” he said.

“I’m really speechless, this really hurts. They ruled I didn’t get through the gate and that’s why I got the 50 second penalty.”

Borrows on the other hand was philosophical after his run, knowing how close he was to racing for a medal.

“It’s tough to be so close, to be just outside the 10, but I gave it my all,” he said.

“I’m actually really proud of the way I paddled and I left it all out there.

The Sydneysider is unsure of his next move, but hasn’t given up on another Olympic tilt.

“I need to go home, go back to work, get a bit of money behind me and see what’s next.

The men’s C1 was won by Denis Gargaud Chanut of France ahead of Slovakian Matej Benus and Japanese paddler Takuya Haneda, while Great Britain’s Joseph Clarke took out the K1 event with Slovenia’s Peter Kauzer in second and the Czech Republic’s Jiri Prskavec claiming the bronze medal.

Damian Kelly

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