Heartbreak for Rugby's Kimberley Woods in Olympic final

Bitter disappointment in Tokyo after excellent performances to earn place in top ten

Kimberley Woods (Picture by Sam Mellish)

It was a fantastic achievement to reach the women's K1 Olympic final for Rugby s Kimberley Woods as one of the top ten slalom canoeists in the world.

But after her excellent performance in the semi-final, where her clean run of 109 seconds was good enough for sixth spot, it all went wrong for Kimberley on her final paddle in Tokyo and ended in tears of frustration and disappointment.

As the BBC commentators pointed out, canoeing is such an unforgiving sport, with precision and luck needed in bucketfuls - and the difference between brilliant speed and disaster is balanced on a knife-edge.

Kimberley caught gate 4 at the top of the course, picking up a two-second penalty and piling on the pressure to make up time after Spain's Maialen Chourraut had set the early pace on 106.63.

Having to pick up speed Kimberley touched gate 12 and knew her chance of a medal had gone. It meant she missed gate 17, incurring a 50-second penalty and as she made her way to the finish, a last touch on gate 24 completed the agony for the 25-year-old who started her career as an eight year old with Rugby Canoe Club.

It all added up to leave her in tenth place, on 177.09.

Commentators knew she would be absolutely gutted with that run, knowing she was capable of so much more, but reminded viewers she is a superb paddler with plenty of time still ahead of her.

Germany's Ricarda Funk won gold in 105.56, Chourraut silver and Australia's Jessica Fox bronze in 106.73, after picking up four seconds of penalties.