Mallory Franklin and Bradley Forbes-Cryans both secured their Olympic semi-final qualification with emphatic performances on day four of the Tokyo 2020 canoe slalom event.
It was the turn of the C1 women’s and K1 men’s events with Mallory and Bradley both kicking off their Olympic Games campaign at a sunny Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre in Tokyo.
One of the 22 athletes making history in the women’s C1, Mallory Franklin posted two storming times to top both heat leader boards.
The Windsor & District athlete’s two performances mean she will go into Thursday’s semi-final last on the start list, as the event makes its Olympic Games debut.
Mallory, who is also taking on her first Olympic Games, posted a fantastic first run of 107.51 to go top of the first heat, beating her nearest competitor Jess Fox by 2.5 seconds.
That run was improved on two hours later in the second heat, as she flew down the course in time of 105.06, including a two second penalty to win yet another heat and top the table going into Thursday’s semi-finals.
Delighted with how she raced, Mallory said:
I’m really pleased with that performance. The main point of me being here is just to get some solid confidence building runs out so it’s definitely something that is really important.– Mallory Franklin
“I have been watching everyone else race so it’s great to get on that start line and get some confidence from today’s racing, putting down runs to show I had the pace and I can deliver.
“I am trying to be really present. This whole environment, I am trying to make the most of every moment and enjoy being in the village and try not to think about tomorrow’s semi-finals or beyond.”
Talking about being part of that first wave of athletes taking on the women’s C1 for the first time at an Olympic Games, she continued:
“It feels really normal to me as this is my first Games, I have raced this event in the World Championships for years. It feels like I’m at the Games and paddling and not specifically C1. I know the story to it. I think it’s great. I think there’s been some excellent runs to show C1 women’s does deserve to be in the Olympics and it’s really tight too.
“It is really nice to be in this position. I have been paddling well but not put too many full runs together. Let’s see how tomorrow goes. The course is tough, but I have really enjoyed just paddling it and see what comes together today.
“I spoke to Adam about the course. He’s one of the top boats and has a really good feel for the course. I will give him a call once he lands back in the UK.”
Bradley Forbes-Cryans also made a strong start to his Olympic Games and will be racing in the men’s K1 semi-finals on Friday after finishing in 13th place during the heats.
Requiring a top 20 finish, Bradley posted a storming, clean first run of 93.65 to go quickest of the day at that point which put him top of the table. He was caught by a number of paddlers but sat in a comfortable fifth place.
Two penalties and a small paddle back on his second run to finish with a 101.46 meant that the CR Cats athlete’s first run was used to qualify for the next stage in 13th place.
Delighted with his day’s work and to be racing the Olympic heats, Bradley said:
I’m really happy with that. It felt fantastic to sit on that Olympic start line for the first run. I went out there on the second run trying to deliver little bits of my plan that could’ve been better from my first run.– Bradley Forbes-Cryans
“Unfortunately it didn’t happen the way I wanted but today has been fantastic and so memorable to me. Really looking forward to the semi-final.
“The last 12 months I’ve probably been the most stress free I’ve ever felt leading into an event. I knew I had a clear job, how I wanted to go about my business in training. I’ve done that. Now I’m here, I’m looking to see how that’s going to pay off for me.
“The Tokyo 2020 course uses a similar system to Lee Valley so it is a little familiar. I think everyone will need to be on their A game for the semi-finals. It’s often extremely competitive. Ill execute my plan to the best of my ability and that’s all I can do.”
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) - C1 Women Heat 1 - 107.51; Heat 2 - 105.06 - qualifies to the semi-finals in 1st place
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) - K1 Men Heat 1 - 93.65; Heat 2 - 101.46 - qualifies to the semi-finals in 13th place
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Photos from Garry Bowden