Tokyo Olympics 2020: Luuka Jones misses medals in K1 slalom final

Author
Kris Shannon,
Publish Date
Tue, 27 Jul 2021, 8:22PM

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Luuka Jones misses medals in K1 slalom final

Author
Kris Shannon,
Publish Date
Tue, 27 Jul 2021, 8:22PM

Luuka Jones has just fallen short of adding another Olympic medal to her collection after a disappointing run in the final of the K1 slalom.

The distraught Kiwi put her face in her hands after crossing the line in a time of 110.67, well behind what had been a promising effort in the semifinals.

Jones, who claimed silver in the event at Rio 2016, finished sixth at the Kasai Canoe Slalom course and will be left to rue an unexceptional run when it mattered most.

The 32-year-old avoided time penalties but looked well below her best, possibly hampered by the short turnaround between the semis and final.

Jones made a fast start in the final but quickly lost time at the first of the difficult upstream gates, a technical struggle that continued through the rest of the race.

She almost overturned her kayak midway through the run but barely managed to regain control, a miscue that saw her slip well down the leaderboard.

The final was eventually won by German Ricarda Funk after red-hot Australian favourite Jessica Fox picked up two penalties and was consigned to a second straight bronze.

Jones was third-quickest in the heats and had qualified fifth-fastest for tonight's 10-strong decider, appearing to have plenty of room for improvement after not enjoying the cleanest of runs in the semifinals.

The Kiwi had been penalised for touching one gate but still managed to stop the clock in a time of 108.97, which seemed to augur well for the showpiece an hour later.

Unfortunately Jones was unable to replicate her heroics of five years ago, in what still remained a landmark Olympics.

Luuka Jones didn't produce her best effort when it mattered most. Photo / Getty

Luuka Jones didn't produce her best effort when it mattered most. Photo / Getty

The paddler joined an elite group just by making the startline in Tokyo, joining discus thrower Beatrice Faumuina, marathon runner Lorraine Moller and table tennis player Li Chunli as four-time New Zealand female Olympians.

Dame Valerie Adams is set to compete in her fifth Games in Tokyo and join Barbara Kendall as the only women to feature at five Olympics.

Jones made her Olympic debut at Beijing 2008 as a 19-year-old, and five years ago in Rio won New Zealand's first medal in the K1 slalom.

The Tauranga-born athlete has remained in impressive form since Rio, finishing second at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in Slovakia in 2019, but like many of her Olympic teammates has been hampered by a lack of international competition since.

Jones will also feature in tomorrow's C1 slalom heats at Tokyo, the first time women will compete in the one-bladed event at the Olympics.