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Day 3 Olympic review: Fox fights back to make semi-final


31 July 2012

The University of Sydney's youngest Olympian, kayaker Jess Fox, entered Olympic competition on Monday. Andrew Tilley from Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) reports on the progress of Jess and other University of Sydney Olympians.


Kayaking

SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Jessica Fox produced an amazing comeback on day three of the 2012 London Olympics to qualify for the semifinals of the K1 (single kayak) after capsizing on her first run.

Fox's Olympic debut began with a nightmare K1 heat run when she capsized and rolled in the tricky artificial rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Her score of 165.36 left her stunned, and well outside the top 15 cut-off for Thursday's semi-final.

But the 18-year-old junior world champion showed the composure of a veteran and backed her fearless skill to bounce back with an excellent second run of 100.33 to qualify in fourth position.

"I had a shocker in the first run," the first-year media and communications student told Ninemsn. "Everything that could have gone wrong pretty much did go wrong with that run.

"I was really under pressure to pull it out for that second run because it is quite a tough field of competitors so I was really happy I could get a good second run under the belt.

"It was quite a big afternoon emotionally and physically."

Fox came into the Olympic competition on the back of three gold medals at the junior world and under-23 titles and was ranked fifth following solid displays on the World Cup circuit.

She's now proven she can handle the pressure to be a legitimate Olympics challenger to Spanish favourite Maialen Chourraut who was the best qualifier with 98.75.

Fox needs to finish in the top 10 of her Thursday semi-final to qualify for the final later that day.

Also at his first Olympic Games, University of Sydney graduate and former EAP scholarship holder Kynan Maley has qualified for his second Olympic semi-final after Australia's canoe double team of Maley and Robin Jeffery qualified for Thursday's semi-finals with a strong second run to finish 10th in their two heats.

The C2 duo took the last spot with a score of 107.47 - just 0.03 better than German combination David Schroeder and Frank Henze.

Two days earlier Maley had earned qualification for the semi-finals of the C1 (Canoe Single). He will attempt to make the final tonight.


Sailing

SUSF EAP scholarship holder and teenage match racing skipper Olivia Price beat the Americans in a photo finish thriller then routed the British to underline her emergence as a shock sailing Olympic gold medal contender.

The University of Sydney arts student and her crew of Lucinda Whitty and Nina Curtis, finished so closely locked with the US crew on Monday that the official timer put the margin at 0.00 seconds.

Officials awarded Australia victory after replaying race footage.

Price and her crew, ranked sixth, then destroyed world number-two Great Britain, beating them by 22 seconds in the day's second heat off Weymouth, southwest England.

Those victories followed wins against France and Finland -- ranked third and fourth in the world -- on Sunday.

"It was another tricky but fun day for us ... we went out there just trying to do our normal thing and it's paid off so far," Price told Ninemsn.

Her stunning series of victories means she has an early share of the regatta lead with Russia, having faced and beaten the world's top four crews.

Match racing pits two triple-handed Elliott keelboats against each other over a short course.

Fellow University of Sydney student and sailor Krystal Weir is in 18th position (out of 41) after the first of five days of racing in the women's laser radial event.

To qualify for the final Weir must finish in the top 10. She will be racing again tonight.


Rowing

University of Sydney's Brooke Pratley and her rowing partner Kim Crow completed a crucial opening heat victory in the double sculls.

Pratley, a member of the Sydney University Women's Rowing Club (SUWRC), and Crow held off a late challenge by the United States to win their repechage and claim a place in Friday's final.

In the men's eight, the Australian crew - featuring five Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) representatives - snuck into the final after finishing fourth in their repechage.

The University of Sydney's Tobias Lister, Matt Ryan, Sam Loch, Francis Hegerty and Nicholas Purnell will all appear in Wednesday's final.


Hockey

Away from the water, University of Sydney graduate Matthew Butturini has scored his first Olympic goal in the Kookaburras 6-0 thrashing of South Africa in their opening game of their Olympic campaign.

Butturini, a former EAP scholarship holder and Sydney University Hockey Club (SUHC) representative, scored Australia's second goal.

The Kookaburras face their toughest Pool A test next-up - against world No.5 Spain on Wednesday.


Basketball

The Australian women's basketball team were defeated 74-70 by France in overtime despite an extraordinary game-tying buzzer beater from behind the half-court line by veteran Belinda Snell.

With the Opals trailing by three points, the former Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames player received the ball deep in the defensive end and, off one step, heaved a 'Hail Mary' shot - still a couple of metres short of the halfway line - with less than one second remaining on the clock.

The ball left her hands with exactly 0.6sec to go.

The amazing shot went in off the backboard to tie the scores at 65-65 and send the game into overtime.

"I wanted it and she (Abby Bishop) did well to outlet it to me and I tried to throw it up there and I was pretty lucky it went down," Snell told Fox Sports.

"But, unfortunately, we didn't capitalise on the overtime so it was a bit of a rollercoaster. The huge high and then obviously we are pretty disappointed with the loss."


See our schedule of events to find out which University of Sydney Olympians are in action in coming days..


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Enquiries: Andrew Tilley, Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness, 9351 8116, a.tilley@sport.usyd.edu.au