NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holder Lucien Delfour paddled into a debut Olympic final, before finishing eighth in Friday’s men’s K1 event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
After qualifying for the semi-final with the third-fastest time, the Australian needed a 98.45 to qualify for the final.
Three seconds down at the second checkpoint, he had a small margin for error however a time penalty made it a closer contest.
Delfour fought to cross the line in sixth position with a time of 97.52, however, an asterisk next to his name meant the result was pending legal clearance through one of the gates.
After a couple of nervous minutes of waiting, the asterisk was removed and Delfour was confirmed as a finalist, qualifying as the sixth fastest paddler.
In the final, the NSWIS athlete took to the water with a podium position within reach and started quickly, ahead of the fastest thus far at the first checkpoint. However, a gate touch and the resulting 2-second penalty put him behind on the second checkpoint, while also losing crucial time squeezing his head around the last upstream gate.
Despite crossing the line holding the bronze medal position, with the five fastest qualifiers to come, it would only be a matter of time until his time was bettered, and following each paddler’s run, Delfour finished the final in eighth position.
It was not the dream run but a debut final meant the Penrith-based athlete gave himself every possible chance to paddle for medal.
The men’s K1 event finished off the Tokyo 2020 canoe slalom competition.