Olympics-Canoeing-Australian Fox fastest in women's canoe slalom semifinal

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Canoe Slalom - Women's C1 - Heats - Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre, Tokyo, Japan - July 28, 2021. Jessica Fox of Australia in action REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

TOKYO (Reuters) - Australia's Jessica Fox was first in the women's canoe slalom semifinal on Thursday with a methodical run down the whitewater course in Tokyo almost three seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.

In the final later in the day, the four time world champion will face Britain's Mallory Franklin, the 2017 world champion, who recorded the fastest time in the heats on Wednesday.

Those two favourites will, however, have to put in strong performances to win gold against a final line up that includes Germany's Andrea Herzog, the reigning world champion.

Paddlers faced another day of hot weather at the Tokyo 2020 canoe slalom centre, which has warmed the water and left athletes exhausted after their runs through the 25 gates along the 250 metre course.

Six paddlers rolled their canoes in the semifinal, including American Evy Leibfarth, who battled on even after earning a 50 second penalty for a missed gate she knew would eliminate her from the competition.

"You have got to keep going and you have still got to give it your all even if you know that the race is pretty much over for you," Leibfarth said after the run.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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