A nervous Jessica Fox is through to the semi-finals of the K1 at the World Slalom Championships in London – but it took her two runs in atrocious conditions to get there.
The 2012 Olympic silver medalist and defending World Champion was 38th following her first qualifying run, after missing a gate and having to double back.
With only the top 20 going straight through from the first run, the 21-year-old had to finish top ten in her second run on the Olympic Lee Valley course to make the semi-finals.
Two other Australians, Ros Lawrence and Alison Borrows, also had to rely on second runs, but while Fox finished third, Lawrence and Borrows both missed out in the pouring rain.
“I was very nervous,” Fox said after the second run.
“I was nervous this morning, but I had a good first run up until the middle section where I made a pretty big error.
“Once I nailed the move I had trouble with on the first run I gave a little sigh of relief.”
Fox rarely needs two runs to qualify for a semi-final, although by chance she had exactly the same problem at the London Olympics.
“I was cooling down after the first run, and Peter Kauzer from the Slovenian team came up to me and said ‘Jess don’t worry about it, you did exactly the same thing in London and it turned out okay,” Fox said.
“This is actually the first time I’ve had to do a second run this season, so it was a little bit different for me, to deal with that pressure and the new challenge.”
Fox is the defending world champion in both the K1 and C1. She’ll contest the qualifying run of the C1, along with Lawrence and Borrows, on Thursday.
This week is the first chance athletes have had to qualify for next year’s Olympics, with only one athlete from each of the top 15 countries qualifying for Rio.