Two-time Olympic medallist, Jessica Fox, made a triumphant return to international competition over the weekend winning gold in the C1 and claiming bronze in the K1 at the 2021 ICF World Slalom World Cup in Prague.
Fox, Australia’s greatest canoe slalom paddler of all time, finished four seconds ahead of her competitors in the C1 final on Sunday, proving she will be the one to beat in Tokyo where the women’s C1 event will make its Olympic debut.
“It’s always good to line up against such a strong field,” said Fox.
“I couldn’t be complacent, I just had to go and attack it in that final so I’m really pleased that I did. And I was proud of the run regardless of where it would end up. But to end up on top is special.”
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“It will be very special for us C1 women to be in Tokyo together and to sit on that start line as the first women to race at the Olympic Games for canoe.
“Every race we do, K1 or C1, I take a lot of learnings and confidence from, I keep the good bits and I ditch the bad bits. But I think the competition is super fierce and all the girls have really lifted and everyone is looking fit and fast so it’s really exciting to be back here and racing, and to see where we are at after being away for so long.”
Competing in the K1 final the day prior, Fox completed the course in a fast raw time of 98.82 seconds, but two gate touches cost her four seconds in penalties. A final time of 102.82 positioned her in third place to claim the bronze.
It was a highly successful return to racing for Australia’s canoe slalom athletes with just 40 days to go until the Tokyo Games.
Fellow Tokyo Olympian and Team NSWIS athlete Lucien Delfour finished 13th in the men’s K1 event, while Noemie Fox joined her Jessica in the women’s C1 final, finishing in eighth place.
“It’s really good to be back here, “said Delfour. “It’s been a while, almost two years, and it’s quite special and exciting to be able to race again in the international field.
“We did have selections in 2020 which was a good race but we didn’t get to travel last year so for us it was quite a long wait”.