It wasn’t to be for Great Britain's Kimberley Woods as she finished tenth in the women’s K1 Olympic final on day three of the Tokyo 2020 canoe slalom event.
It’s been an impressive first Olympic Games for the Rugby Canoe Club athlete after delivering strong performances in both the heats on Sunday and the semi-final today, but a couple of early touches for Kimberley on gates 4 and 12 and further penalties later on made it a difficult to make up the time in the final, as she concluded with a time of 177.09.
The 25-year-old started the day off strongly, delivering an excellent and composed semi-final performance to post her first clean run of the season in a time of 109.00, which eased her through to the final just over an hour later.
However the penalties in her final run meant she finished tenth in her first ever Olympic final, an achievement she can be incredibly proud of.
Speaking to the media after her final, Kimberley said:
“I’m feeling really disappointed with how I’ve paddled in that final. It’s not me, but I’m still young.
I’m 25, it is my first Olympic Games and I’ve still got a lot of experience. I’m just a little bit disappointed in myself and sad I couldn’t make everyone at home happy and bring home a medal.– Kimberley Woods
“Some of the pressure did get to me. I really try and absorb that on the start line. I was in really good shape. I felt so confident in myself. It’s the tiny mistakes and thoughts of people back at home that were coming in."
Despite the disappointment, Kimberley vows to be back and believes she can challenge at the top of the event.
“I haven’t been in that situation before. I am a paddler that goes all in. I didn’t want to leave anything out there. I did go out of the blocks hard and the early penalty proved it. I just couldn’t get back into the rhythm of it, but I would’ve regretted not going fully in.
“My semi-final was my first clean run of the whole season, I’m used to getting penalties. But it’s the little mistakes and dropping low. Little things I knew weren’t good enough to win a medal."
I will be back. We’ve still got races this season. A World Championships. I’ve definitely proven I’m up there with the top girls. It’s going to be hard but I’m going to learn lots from this race being in this position.– Kimberley Woods
Gold went to Ricarda Funk of Germany, with the Rio 2016 Olympic Champion Maialen Chourraut taking silver.
Slalom action returns again tomorrow morning from 5am with Mallory Franklin and Bradley Forbes-Cryans both taking to the Kasai Canoe Slalom Course for the first time in women’s C1 and men’s K1 respectively.
Results - Kimberley Woods (Rugby Canoe Club)
K1 Women Semi-final - 109.00 qualifies to the final in 6th place
K1 Women Final 177.09 - 10th place
The full results are available on the Tokyo 2020 website.
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