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Jones powers to surprise whitewater win

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6 days ago

When Luuka Jones finally bagged a win at the international canoe slalom regatta in Auckland, it was in an event she least expected.

The Kiwi Olympic K1 silver medallist had clinched two minor medals at the Whitewater XL regatta but thought her chances of grabbing a win in front of home supporters had passed her by.

She surprised herself on Sunday by winning the final of the boatercross class, an event featuring multiple competitors using larger, more buoyant craft.

In a four-woman final, Jones held off leading Frenchwoman Nouria Newman, Dutch paddler Martina Wegman and world extreme champion Sandra Hyslop of Great Britain.

"The boatercross is the event that I'm least likely to win and I was even a little bit scared," Jones said.

"But after a couple of runs, my anaerobic strength came through and I could get the speed off the start."

Newman had some consolation, crowned overall women's K1 champion for the week, with Australia's Rosalyn Lawrence second and Jones third.

Kiwi Mike Dawson qualified for the men's boatercross final, which was won by German Stefan Hengst.

Ondrej Tunka of the Czech Republic won overall men's K1 honours.

The $60,000 regatta at the newly-built Whitewater Park in Manukau was touted as the biggest kayaking championship staged in New Zealand,

Jones says her peers all praised the event and the venue.

"Friends have been messaging me from overseas saying how gutted they are not to be here and they're all fired up to come out next year," she said.

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