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Fox on top at Oceania canoe slalom champs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/01/2017

Luuka Jones had a day to forget as Australian Jess Fox powered to K1 victory at the Oceania canoe slalom championships in Auckland.

A double Olympic medallist and multiple world champion, Fox underlined her class in her first competitive taste of the newly-built Whitewater Park.

Despite picking up a two-second penalty in the final, 22-year-old Fox still clocked a slick time of 98.37sec to finish more than 1sec clear of French paddler Nouria Newman. Australian Kate Eckhardt was third.

Kiwi Jones, who beat Fox to the silver medal at the Rio Olympics, missed the penultimate gate to drop from the third-fastest raw time to 10th.

Both Fox and Jones have qualified for the C1 semi-finals on Monday.

Fox believes the New Zealander has done the right thing by pursuing a second discipline leading into the Tokyo Olympics, just as she has done.

"I've loved doing both but what's hard is splitting your sessions," she said.

"It's hard to find the half-half balance but I think Luuka is going to be really good. She hasn't been paddling C1 that long and I'm really impressed."

Meanwhile, Great Britain's Ryan Westley posted a narrow victory in the men's C1 final, recording a clean run of 90.00sec to narrowly head off Slovakia's Olympic silver medallist Matej Benus.

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