A belated 50-second penalty for missing a gate has cost Australian canoe slalom paddler Jessica Fox a final U23 C1 gold at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Fox, a three-time U23 World Champion, crossed the finish line believing she had won a fourth and final C1 U23 title on Friday.
But judges deemed she had missed a gate during her run, and touched another, and added 52 seconds to her time, dropping the 23-year-old to 10th on the leaderboard.
“It’s a heartbreaking day I guess, because it was a winning run and then an unlucky 50, so 10th place,” Fox said.
“I felt great, I rose to the occasion, I was really happy with the way I paddled after hearing Mallory’s time.
“Look, I get lucky some times, and I get very unlucky some times and that’s one of those days.”
Great Britain’s Mallory Franklin took the gold, ahead of Czech Tereza Fiserova and fellow Brit, Kimberley Woods.
Earlier both Noemie Fox and Kate Eckhardt struck trouble in the semi-final and missed the final field.
Jessica Fox had qualified in second place, and said she had no idea during her run that she might have attracted penalties.
“That’s always the worst, when they add it on afterwards,” she said.
“When one of my coaches told me they had given a 50, I was very surprised. It’s my fault, but I’m just gutted by that outcome.”
Fox will get one last chance to add an 11th Junior and U23 World Championship medal when she competes in the K1 on Saturday.
But she believes a C1 gold would have been very special.
“It’s definitely disappointing, and I’m very upset and angry,” she said.
“But it’s better this race then the World Championships.
“I’ve got a track record now, every year there’s a race where I win and then get a 50, so I’m hoping I’m done for this year and there are no more surprising 50’s.”
Earlier Australia’s Benjamin Pope and Angus Thompson finished 19th and 29th respectively in the semi-finals of the men’s U23 K1, Louis Richardson was 31st in the junior K1, and Alexandria Choate was 27th in the junior C1.