By Pippa Field
Mallory Franklin underlined her status as a serious contender to be crowned the first Olympic women’s C1 canoe champion yesterday in qualifying fastest for Thursday’s semi-finals. The C1 is a new event in Tokyo, added to the schedule in place of a men’s C2 to give the sport gender parity.
Franklin is already Britain’s most successful female canoeist, winning individual world gold in 2017 and the European title two years later plus a whole host of team and World Cup medals. And the 27-year-old started her Tokyo campaign in fine style, going fastest in both heats with just one two-second time penalty.
Reigning world champion Andrea Herzog, of Germany, delivered the second-fastest time while another pre-race favourite, Australian Jessica Fox, was fifth fastest ahead of today’s semi-finals – which are currently under way, with Franklin still go to – and final, which takes place at 0755 BST.
“I’m really pleased. I’ve had quite a while watching other people race so it was good to get on the start line and use today as a confidence-builder to show me I can deliver and I have the pace,” said Franklin, who tapped up British team-mate Adam Burgess for his knowledge of the course after he finished fourth in his men’s C1 final on Monday.
“There is a hint of getting caught up in the moment and what it means. I’m trying to be really present and enjoy it. Perhaps there were a lot of people who thought we wouldn’t perform very well and it didn’t warrant being at the Games but today so far we’ve shown that is not true. There have been some good runs and it’s really tight.”
We will be here for all of the updates from the C1 as well as numerous other Olympic updates throughout the day, highlighting Team GB medal hopes throughout.