Germany’s Ricarda Funk ended Australian Jessica Fox’s bid to win two canoeing golds at the Tokyo Olympics by taking the women’s kayak slalom title on Tuesday in a technically accomplished run down a challenging white water course.
It was Funk’s first major title since winning the European championship in 2018 and the first time a German paddler has won the women’s kayak slalom event since Barcelona in 1992.
Funk watched as her friend and world No.1 Fox powered out from the start. “At the moment I wasn’t thinking anything, I was already over the moon that I had won a medal,” Funk told reporters after receiving her gold medal.
Fox earned an early two-second penalty from a gate pole strike and a second hit further down the course meant the 2018 world champion had to settle for a second successive Olympic bronze in the event.
“It was one too many,” Fox said sitting next to Funk. The 27-year-old Australian is trained by her French mother, Myriam, a two-time kayak world champion and Olympic bronze medallist in 1996.
She will get another shot at Olympic gold this week when she competes in the first ever Olympic women’s canoe slalom as part of a gender equality push by the sport and the International Olympic Committee.
“We are as equal as the men and this is a great achievement, and Jess has played a big role in this equality game,” said Funk.
Veteran Spanish kayaker and 2016 Olympic champion Maialen Chourraut took the silver in her fourth consecutive Olympics.—Reuters