Luuka Jones into semis at World Cup, Kiwi men bow out
Kiwi paddler Luuka Jones will contest her first semifinal of this year's canoe slalom World Cup series in Slovakia.
Jones made the semifinal of the K1 women's event with a strong heat run on Saturday morning (NZ time), but fellow New Zealanders Callum Gilbert and Mike Dawson couldn't advance past the semifinals of the men's K1 event on Sunday morning.
It has been a frustrating season for Jones so far, with fast times being negate
d by missed gates that have cost her a chance to make the latter stages of events.
She avoided that this time when finishing sixth-fastest in the second round in a time 105.35 seconds after a clear run.
"I've been finding it hard to put down good runs over the last two weeks and to get into the right mental space," Jones said.
"It was definitely a relief and I'm looking forward to take what I learned today and use it in my semifinal on Sunday."
Gilbert, in his first semifinal at the elite level, was 35th in a time of 103.11s, with two penalties added, to finish a place ahead of Dawson.
The 19-year-old Gilbert had earlier broken into the top 40 for the first time in his second heat run, which was the fourth-fastest of the second round.
"Making a World Cup semifinal has been a goal of mine for a while so it's really cool to have achieved that," Gilbert said.
"It was so cool to see Callum step up and put together a great run under pressure, to get into his first semifinal - as a senior paddler now, it's great to see the young guys stepping up," Dawson said.