Kiwi kayaker Luuka Jones will head to her training base in England confident she’s got her mojo back, after the third world cup of the season.
Jones finished 14th in the K1 in Slovakia, missing a place in the final by less than 2secs after clocking 106.69secs in her semifinal.
It capped a decent weekend for the New Zealand contingent, after K1 men Mike Dawson and Callum Gilbert also made the semifinals, and Jones was pleased with her change in mindset after disappointing runs in the first two world cups.
“I was a lot happier with this weekend’s racing compared with last weekend and my runs were a lot more assertive,” Jones said. “I had a couple of costly mistakes in the semifinal, which cost me a place in the final and I’ll be heading back to the UK to work on those but they’re just technical things, rather than big issues.”
Gilbert, 19, made his first ever world cup semifinal and had the distinction of finishing 35th, a spot above his senior Kiwi teammate Dawson, who missed a gate on the Liptovsky Mikulas river course and had to paddle back up over a small waterfall, in front of a cheering grandstand, to get to it.
Dawson, the 2012 London Olympian, was nonetheless delighted with his form with the world championships just two months away in London, having made the final of the first world cup in Prague.
“It was a good series of races through the world cups and the times were super-competitive, which is great to have at this time of the year,” Dawson said. “The big focus is on performing in the world champs so it’s nice to be up there with the top guys all the time.”
He’ll now head back to Prague to train, although both he and Jones will book training time on the London Olympic course, which is the venue for the world championships in September. Olympic qualification will be up for grabs in London, with Dawson aiming for his second games and Jones her third.