09:15PM, Wednesday 28 July 2021
Windsor’s Mallory Franklin safely negotiated her way through the C1 Women’s heat for a place in tomorrow’s (Thursday) semi-final at a sunny Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre in Tokyo.
Of the 22 athletes taking part in the C1 competition, Franklin posted two of the fastest times and as such will be the last athlete to ger her semi-final run underway.
In her first experience of the Olympics, Franklin beat her nearest challenger Jess Fox by 2.5 seconds to complete her run in 107.51, going top of the first heat in the process. Two hours later she improved on that time in the second heat, flying down the course in 105.06, despite picking up a two second penalty.
Reflecting on the heat, Franklin said: “I have been watching everyone else race so it’s great to get on that start line and get some confidence from today’s racing, putting down runs to show I had the pace and I can deliver.
“I am trying to be really present. This whole environment, I am trying to make the most of every moment and enjoy being in the village and try not to think about tomorrow’s semi-finals or beyond.
“It feels really normal to me as this is my first Games, I have raced this event in the World Championships for years. It feels like I’m at the Games and paddling and not specifically C1. I know the story to it. I think it’s great. I think there’s been some excellent runs to show C1 women’s does deserve to be in the Olympics and it’s really tight too.
“It is really nice to be in this position. I have been paddling well but not put too many full runs together. Let’s see how tomorrow goes. The course is tough, but I have really enjoyed just paddling it and see what comes together today.”
Franklin will hope to make tomorrow’s final and then go for gold between 6am and 8.45am UK time.
This weekend’s smart motorway closures on the M4 will be shorter than usual due to separate bridge works taking place in West Berkshire (Junctions 13-14)