August 8, 2016 / 2:07 AM / 3 years ago

Canoe: Top men's paddler disputes penalty that scuttles semis spot

2016 Rio Olympics - Canoe Slalom - Preliminary - Men's Kayak (K1) Heats - Whitewater Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. Lucien Delfour (AUS) of Australia competes in the 2nd run. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Australia’s Lucien Delfour, the top-ranked men’s canoe slalom K1 paddler at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, failed on Sunday to qualify for the semi-finals and insisted he did not deserve a 50-second penalty for missing a gate.

Delfour said he was “shocked” by the ruling and was “100-percent sure” he crossed the gate during the men’s heats.

“My head was in the gate for sure,” Delfour said. “I noticed on the cameras it looks like I’m not in the gate because I tilt my head before I crossed the gate.”

On whether he planned to appeal the ruling, Delfour said “it’s under review.”

“In these situations, athletes should get the benefit of the doubt,” he added. “It’s quite heartbreaking especially at the Olympic Games.”

Delfour narrowly missed the cut for the semi-finals, with a best time of 94.30 seconds. His best time without the penalty would have been 88.72 seconds.

The top-15 finishers qualified for the semi-finals.

Reporting by Amy Tennery in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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