Australia’s Jessica Fox is two races away from creating yet another moment in history, after qualifying fastest in the women’s C1 at the 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Rio.

If Fox can win the C1 title she will become the first slalom athlete to go through an entire international season undefeated, after she won all five World Cup events earlier this year.

Czech Ondrej Tunka gave a timely reminder of his abilities, qualifying fastest in the men’s K1, 12 months after winning his first world title in Pau.

Fox showed there has been no drop in her incredible 2018 form, posting a time of 101.32 to pip Great Britain’s reigning C1 world champion, Mallory Franklin, in 101.61. British teammate Kimberley Woods was third in 108.30.

Fox had won the C1 world title for three years in a row before losing to Franklin last year.

“I think last year was really disappointing and frustrating,” Fox said.

“But that happens, and it’s just about learning and coming back stronger, and I’ve had a great year this season.

“I’ve been feeling good, I’ve changed boats and tried different things so I’m just looking forward to racing here again.

“Last time we came here there was only K1, so now to do both is really nice.”

Tunka caused a major upset when he won the men’s K1 world title in Pau last year. His form since then has been patchy, but he was back to his best on Thursday with an 84.87 to be fastest into the semi-finals.

Italian Zeno Ivaldi, who missed much of 2018 with an injury, was second fastest in 85.52, while Olympic gold medallist Joe Clarke of Great Britain was third in 85.86 – a gate touch rubbing him of the quickest time.

“I felt good, I’m just happy that I’m straight into the semi-final and I don’t have to do a second run, which I’ve been doing a lot of this year,” Tunka said.

“I haven’t been feeling as good in the last year, and I don’t know why. At training I feel good, but in the races I always make a big mistake.

“I think it is good for me to know I can still do a good run.”

The 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships continue on Friday with finals in the mixed C2 and semi-finals in the men’s C1 and women’s K1.

Czech Ondraj Tunka K1 Rio World Championship 2018

Canoe Slalom
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