Matej Benus (SVK) and local hope Kimberley Woods (GBR) topped the qualification runs as the individual canoe events commenced in north London at the 2015 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships at the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre.

In heat one of the C1W Woods laid down a blistering run that, barring a two-second penalty on gate eight, would have been a shade under the 100-second mark.

The 20-year-old European Champion, who stormed onto the international scene two years ago when she won gold at the Cardiff World Cup, will be hoping for a similar outcome on home waters this year.

"I knew with my skills on the water in C1 with a solid run I could easily get through," said a confident Woods.

Woods was trailed by Katrina Hoskova (CZE), Jessica Fox (AUS), compatriot Eilidh Gibson (GBR) and Nuria Vilarrubla (ESP).

In the increasingly competitive class, all were rightly pleased with direct qualification to the semifinal stage, something that the double-World Champion, Fox, was keen to underline.

“There's a few girls leading the pack,” she said. “Kimberley Woods for example who is putting down some really good fast times and pushing us to catch up to her. I think the whole class has improved a lot. There’s some new girls who have started this year so it’s great to see the sport developing. Since 2009 we can look at it and be proud of how far we have come."

The 2011 World Champion, Hoskova, shared similar sentiments: "C1 is getting harder and harder to get into the semifinal; now on the start list it's 38 women so I think it’s a good improvement."

With many in the class also competing in K1W heats, fine-tuning their performances from yesterday’s runs was uppermost in their minds.

“Yesterday I was disappointed not to make it through on the first run and had a big mistake on gate 18," said Fox.

"Today I really wanted to make sure I got all the gates and had some smooth lines, especially around 17/18. Now I have a rest day tomorrow and can look forward to Saturday in K1.”

Meanwhile in the C1M, the impressive Matej Benus comfortably glided through to the semifinal stage at the first time of asking along with many of the usual suspects.

However his illustrious teammate, Michal Martikán (SVK), slipped up on gate 20 and incurred a 50-second penalty that left him beyond the initial qualification cut.

Not phased by the need to take a second attempt, the 36-year-old commented, “It was good to have a second run because of training and now we have two days off. I didn’t feel any pressure. It was great for me to paddle second run and have one more very good training before semifinals and finals.”

Referring specifically to his second run, the five-time Olympian continued, “In the second run I lost a couple of seconds globally and one touch added to my time, so it’s still possible to be faster.”

2013 double World Champion, David Florence (GBR) also made an uncharacteristic mistake on the same gate as Martikan, picking up a two seconds that left him in 16th position.

“It wasn’t my finest run, but it was really only one mistake on the last upstream that cost me the time. Other than that I was up there with all the fastest out there," said Florence.

“Job done through on first run through to the semifinals which is what I wanted from today really.”

The action continues tomorrow with the K1M starting at 10:30.

Canoe Slalom