Kiwi canoe slalomist Luuka Jones misses podium in finals

New Zealand canoe slalomist Luuka Jones has failed to podium in the final of the women's K1 this evening.

Luuka Jones competes in the kayak heats at Tokyo 2020. Source: Photosport

The 32-year-old qualified fifth fastest for the final with a time of 108.97, showing her full range of skills to navigate the treacherous course.

While at times she struggled with the immense force of the water and changes to the course in the semi-final, she adjusted nicely in the final, gliding across the water and scything through the gates with ease.

She flew out of the gates at the top of the course and was looking excellent on the top of the course.

She avoided penalties and glided down the course, keeping momentum throughout but with just a couple of gates to go she became unstuck, nearly capsizing in the torrent.

It was a mistake that at this level is the difference between a podium place and not, and upon crossing the finish, Jones put her head in her hands knowing it was not going to be enough.

While she was sitting in third place at the conclusion of her run, she dropped out of the podium spots after the next paddler finished with a faster time.

In the end, Jones finished sixth with a time of 110.67, over five seconds off the pace.

Jones was not the only paddler to feel the pressure of a final.

Australian favourite Jessica Fox, who had dominated the entire event through the heats and semi-final, suffered a penalty on the penultimate gate, seeing her drop from the gold medal spot to take bronze. Germany's Ricarda Funk took the gold medal, with defending Olympic champion Maialen Chourraut, of Spain, taking silver.

It was a shock result given Fox's dominance of the sport over the last decade and the competition in Tokyo.

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