World Cup milestone for kayaker Jones

New Zealand kayaker Luuka Jones competing in the C1 at the New Zealand whitewater slalom championships in Kawerau. Photo by Jamie Troughton
New Zealand kayaker Luuka Jones competing in the C1 at the New Zealand whitewater slalom championships in Kawerau. Photo by Jamie Troughton

Whitewater kayaker Luuka Jones has created a little bit more history in a break-through season, becoming the first New Zealander to finish the World Cup circuit ranked in the top-10.
Jones finished 16th in the K1 during the last round in Augsburg, Germany, this week, sealing eighth spot in the final standings.
With a season-best of 10th in Slovenia in June, Jones believes her consistency is finally starting to bear fruit.
“I’m feeling the improvements this year and in the majority of the world cups, I was just outside the finals, either with a gate touch or a small mistake,” the 25-year-old said. “I made one final which was a highlight and was really close in the rest – that’s great in terms of progress from last year but also really frustrating at the same time. I’m trying to get a better consistency in training and this seems to be transferring to the competitions, so the key is to be patient and keep focussing on my processes.”
Fellow Olympian Mike Dawson finished 32nd in the men’s standings, racing four of the five rounds after recovering from wrist surgery at the start of the year. He finished 39th in Augsburg, although his performance gave him plenty of confidence ahead of next month’s world championships in the United States.
“I was pretty happy with my performance despite the end result,” Dawson said. “It was a tough race with the European guys knowing the venue so well but my time down the course was easily fast enough for top-10 in both qualifying and the semifinal. It shows I’m getting back to form since surgery and on track to make the final at the Worlds.”
The 27-year-old missed the fourth round, staying and training on the world championship venue at Deep Creek in Maryland.
Jones, meanwhile, will base herself in Nottingham, England, for the next fortnight to work with coach Campbell Walsh.
“I’ve been based in Nottingham for the summer but it’s been so busy, I’ve only spent around five days here in the last two months. It will be nice to spend two weeks here working on some more aspects of my technique – it’s been a good season so far and I will be hitting the start line at Worlds confident I’ve done everything I can to prepare.”

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