Egan in last chance saloon for Olympic spot

by Aishling Conway

LUCAN’S Jenny Egan endured a frustrating blow to her Tokyo Olympic hopes as she finished outside the qualifier spots at the 2021 World Cup in Szeged, Hungary. 

Having come with a hair’s breadth of reaching both London in 2012 and Rio in 2016, Egan was hoping this would finally be her chance to reach the Games.

And, in the K1 Women 200m, she displayed some very strong racing to progress through the rounds to make the final where the top two nations would obtain an Olympic quota spot.

A great start put her right in contention for one of those places but she slipped down the order to finish 8th in the final, with Olympic spots begin claimed by Great Britain and Italy.

She duly withdrew from the 5,000m event and so now turns her focus to the Canoe Sprint qualifier in the Russian city of Barnaul this weekend.

It is the final opportunity to reach the re-arranged Games in Tokyo for athletes from countries yet to earn a quota place.

And the 34-year-old is hoping to finally get over the line.

“I’ve been so close to it before, and it’s tough when you are so close, and you miss out,” Egan, the only elite female paddler from her country, told the International Canoe Federation.

“But thankfully I love the sport, and I love everything about the sport, and I’m very passionate about K1 5000 metre races, which is in the European Games.

“For me, there is so many more aspects to it than just the Olympic Games, so I’m lucky that I have that passion for other distances.

“We had one woman back in the seventies, and we haven’t had a woman since then. The last time we had a man was 2012, and before that I think Sydney 2000.

“The qualification is what it is, but it is definitely harder for the smaller nations. 

“If anything it has gotten harder.

“You had to be top five in the world at the world championships, or top two at the Olympic qualifier for European athletes, and then there’s just one place up for grabs here.”

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