'Gutted': Jess Fox wins bronze after drama in K1 final

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Australia's Jess Fox claimed bronze in the K1 slalom final after picking up a penalty on one of the first gates on course.
Australia's Jess Fox won bronze in the K1 canoe slalom, despite entering the event as a heavy favourite, after earning an early penalty in the final. Pictures: Getty Images/Channel 7

Australian kayak champion Jess Fox has claimed bronze in a heartbreaking K1 canoe slalom final at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 27-year-old had qualified fastest for the K1 final earlier in the week, showing an immense understanding of the technically demanding Kasai Canoe Slalom course.

IMPRESSIVE: Owen Wright's brilliant recovery after judge's Olympic controversy

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Fox turned in a dominant performance in the early heats, finishing more than three seconds clear of her nearest rival, Slovakian Eliska Mintalova.

However, a late two-second time penalty was added for touching a gate, reducing the margin to 1.33 seconds.

German Ricarda Funk qualified third fastest, with 10 advancing to the medal race.

It was Funk who set Fox her biggest challenge of the Games so far, improving on Fox's qualifying time in her final run.

Slovenia's Elina Mintalova fell to fourth place after qualifying second, before Fox stepped up for the final run.

She picked up an early two-second penalty after touching one of the gates early in her run - but unlike the semi-final where she overcame a similar setback, Fox was unable to recover enough to haul in Funk.

As she did at the prior Rio Olympics in 2016, Fox suffered a heartbreaking fall to claim her second Olympic bronze medal.

Fans showed Fox plenty of support on social media, with Aussie tennis star Dylan Alcott leading the charge.

"Jess Fox. An incredible athlete but an even better person," he wrote. 

"I know you’ll be bummed but you’re still a champ on and off the water."

After the first penalty on the early gates, Fox picked up an additional penalty late in the course, which demoted her to third place behind silver medallist, Spain's Maialen Chourraut.

Owen Wright's brilliant recovery after Olympic judging controversy

Australian surfer Owen Wright has bounced back from a disappointing judge's decision in the semi-final to claim Olympic bronze over Brazil's Gabriel Medina.

Wright had a narrow loss to Brazil's 2019 world champion Italo Ferreira in the semi-finals at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach.

His chance at gold was scuppered when he controversially lost priority with three minutes left in the semi and Ferriera held on to win 13.17 to 12.47.

He slapped the water in frustration over the call, which set up his bronze medal showdown against Medina.

Wright and the Brazilian star went toe to toe before the Australian star was eventually able to prevail and make his way to the podium, thanks to a final score of 11.97 to 11.77.

The 31-year-old from Culburra suffered a near-fatal head injury while surfing at Hawaii's Pipeline in 2015 and a bronze caps his remarkable comeback.

Wright beat Peruvian Lucca Mesinas 16.30 to 11.90 earlier on Tuesday in their quarter-final.

The men's and women's finals were moved forward by one day because of the conditions generated by tropical storm Nepartak.

Medina, the two-time world champion, looked in control of his semi-final heat against Igarashi.

But the Japanese star then unleashed his 540-degree mid-air rotation and looked as stunned as everyone else when he landed it perfectly.

The 9.33 wave score put him in control and he beat Medina 17.00 to 16.76.

With AAP

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