12 Aug 2016

Luuka Jones wins silver in canoe slalom

12:58 pm on 12 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - New Zealand's Luuka Jones has delivered the performance of her life, winning a silver medal in the women's K1 canoe slalom.

It is the country's first Olympic medal in canoe slalom and Jones' third attempt.

Luuka Jones

Luuka Jones Photo: AFP

In 2008, Jones became the first female slalom paddler to represent New Zealand at the Olympics. That year she did not make it out of the heats but four years later she went as far at the semi-finals.

Jones qualified for the final after finishing 7th in the semis and looked relaxed, rising to the occasion.

Ranked 22 in the world Jones was the surprise package, finishing with a score of 101.82 with a clean run.

She told Sky Sport she could not quite believe what she had achieved.

"I mean I think it's still sinking in, I just gave it everything, left nothing out there. I wasn't really thinking anything and I was just going for everything, just pulling as hard as I could."

Jones, who is based in the UK now, told Sky Sport her family and friends would be watching.

"I hope they'll be really proud, I just have to thank them because without all their support, my friends and family back home, I wouldn't be here."

The sport was traditionally dominated by European teams and Jones hoped that might change.

"One of my goals was to put canoe slalom on the map in New Zealand and we've got a new whitewater course and we've got some really great athletes coming through ...so hopefully it'll grow the sport in New Zealand."

The gold medal went to Maialen Chourraut of Spain. Jessica Fox of Australia had to settle for bronze after picking up touch penalties.

The silver is the second medal of the day; rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray earlier claimed New Zealand's first gold of the Games in the men's pair.