30 Sep 2017

Best career finish for Dawson

10:08 am on 30 September 2017

Kayaker Mike Dawson has picked up New Zealand's best-ever world championship result, finishing seventh in the K1 final in Pau, France overnight.

Mike Dawson

Mike Dawson Photo: Photosport

The 30-year-old finished seventh in the K1 final of the canoe slalom world championships in France, 12 years after making his debut at that level.

It's also New Zealand's best world championship result in three decades, since Donald Johnstone's fifth-place - also in France - in 1987.

"I'm stoked to do this for the sport and it's an awesome result for me and something I've been so close to for so many years," Dawson said.

Having finished 10th at last year's Rio Olympics and with a couple of ninth-placings at World Cup level, Dawson squeaked into the final with a 95.35sec semifinal run, grabbing the last qualifying spot by just 0.38secs.

He was on track for a dream final run too, until a bubble of water pushed him outside the 15th gate; he lost time there, then clipped the subsequent gate to pick up a 2sec time penalty and drop him to 98.80secs and seventh overall.

Ahead of him, Czech Ondrej Tunka - who won last year's Whitewater XL title in Auckland - grabbed a shock gold medal in 91.84 after Slovenia's Peter Kauzer received a late penalty, with Tunka's compatriot Vit Prindis finishing just 0.02 seconds behind for silver.

Olympic champion Joe Clarke (Great Britain) was a spot ahead of Dawson in sixth.

Meanwhile, two penalty touches meant Luuka Jones finished out of the finals in her new C1 division, finishing in 124.82secs, just 2.17secs outside the top-10.

Great Britain's Mallory Franklin squeaked through in 10th spot but turned it around in the final with a dream run to take gold, posting 109.09 and watching three-time world champion, Australia's Jessica Fox, run into trouble with three gate touches.

Jones is back in action tonight in the K1 semifinals, with Jones, Dawson and Callum Gilbert lining up tomorrow's extreme slalom competition.