Penalty seconds proved far too costly for New Zealand slalom canoeists Luuka Jones and Mike Dawson at the latest round of the World Cup series in Spain.
The two London-bound Kiwis recorded good qualifying times but both suffered penalties to put them well out of contention at La Seu d'Urgell, in the third and final World Cup event before the Olympics.
Jones had a whopping 50 penalty seconds added to her first run after an issue at the gate, then on her second run she had a ''complete mind blank'' and paddled the wrong course, eventually finishing 53rd of 55 starters in the women's K1 event and missing the semifinals.
''In my opinion I was through the gate but unfortunately the chief judge did not concur,'' she said on her website of her first run. ''Annoying, but I did not wish to dwell on this, it just meant I was headed into second runs without a safe first run under my belt.
''I was feeling tired for most of the week, and perhaps this effected what happened next - it's hard to say. Second runs I bolted out of the start gate trying to put down a faster time (but) on the way down I managed to have a complete mind blank and paddle the wrong course, sailing down the left side of gate 16 rather than the right. I still did not recall my error until the bottom when I saw a juicy 50-second penalty on my time.''
After making the semifinals in France last weekend, Jones said it was important that she did not torment herself over the ''rather absurd'' error in Spain.
''I am happy with my paddling in general and take a few learning curves out of these three weeks of racing. I am confident in the times I have put down in these events and know that I have a good pace and can put down solid race runs.''
She now heads back to England for a six-day training camp on the Olympic course.
Dawson qualified for the semifinals with a good run in his heat but he, too, had time added on - six seconds in his case - which cancelled out another good time in his semifinal and saw him drop to 32nd overall.
Also in the 67-strong men's K1 field, Aaron Osbourne was 52nd and Malcolm Gibson 61st.
The next World Cup round is in Prague from August 24-26.
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