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Kerr through to Olympic semi-final as Lewis narrowly misses out

Deborah Kerr will line up in the semi-finals of the women’s K1 200m after winning her quarter-final race, with a strong display at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

British teammate Emily Lewis narrowly missed out in the same quarter-final as she finished third with a top two place required to progress at the Sea Forest Waterway.

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The British pair found themselves up against each other in quarter-final 3 after their earlier heats performances, where they missed out on the top two needed to bypass into tomorrow’s semi-finals.

It was an extremely tight race for the two Brits, with Emily making the stronger start, using her trademark speed out the blocks to get an early lead. 

Deborah (Strathclyde), however, showed the form she’d been producing all season to get back amongst the leading pack during the final 100 to power across the line in first with a time of 42.742.

Emily was agonisingly close to joining Deborah in the next day of racing, but just 0.005 seconds separated the Worcester Canoe Club athlete and Candian Michelle Russell in second place.

Speaking after her quarter-final victory, Deborah said:

I’m pretty delighted with that quarter-final. The first 100, there were a lot of us challenging and I had quite a bit to do on the last 100. I’m just pleased to get to the next stage, it’s really hard to do that.

– Deborah Kerr

“I knew there was a chance to get straight through to the semi-finals. I’ve backed up two 200s in the same morning a couple of times this year so that wasn’t an issue. It was all about how fast everyone else was.

“My start could have been a little better. I was a little nervous on the start line so I will work on that ahead of the semi-finals.

“It’s all been surreal, the Olympic Games feeling. I still can’t quite believe I’m here and it’s real.

“I know the semi-finals are going to be tough, so to make the top four and reach the A Final, that would be my year made. The field is top class. It’s much harder than a World Championships.”

Earlier in the morning in the heats, Deborah put up a great fight at the start of the race as she looked strong from the off. 

The Scottish paddler battled Taresa Portela and Anna Karasz all the way for an automatic place into the semi-finals.

Unfortunately, it was extremely narrow margins again at the end with just 0.04 seconds separating Deborah and the second place required with the Strathclyde athlete finishing third in 41.168.

Meanwhile, Emily finished fourth in what was a stacked heat for the Worcester Canoe Club athlete. 

She flew out the blocks and showed great power early on to keep herself amongst the top boats battling for a top two spot, but her time of 42.038 meant a fourth place finish and a place in the quarter-finals.

Looking ahead to the 500m on Wednesday, Emily Lewis said:

“Debs is a brilliant competitor, so I knew going into the race I had some competition. It was a bit tough to miss out by such narrow margins. It’s hard, but I will be back stronger.

It’s magical putting on the TeamGB kit and I’ve got years to look ahead to now. I will go out and challenge myself in the 500m and see what I can put down.

– Emily Lewis

“What I love about our sport is how close it can be. One day you can have a brilliant race, the next day it doesn’t quite go for you. It was amazing to see so many top class women racing out there.

“Hopefully we can inspire the next generation by being here”

Deborah will line up in semi-final 2 tomorrow morning, start time 1:37 BST.  Emily will next be in action in the women’s K1 500m, which start on Wednesday 4 August.

How can you follow?

Follow all the action on our live blog and social media channels for live commentary of the events, as well as round ups and quotes from each day.

Live coverage of the Games will be available on the Discovery+ platforms, BBC, Eurosport and with specific channel information provided nearer the event.

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