Deborah Kerr powered herself through early heats as the canoe sprinter finally made her Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Kerr opened her campaign in the splash and dash 200m event, narrowly missing the top two finish she needed to progress to the semi-finals.

However, she grabbed her second chance in the quarter-finals, surging clear of rivals to flash across the line first—and is now dreaming big.

"I know the semi-finals are going to be really, really tough but if I can get in that top four and make the A final then it will be year made," said the 23-year old, who returned home to Motherwell to live with her parents when lockdown hit last year.

"I'm delighted, I had a lot to do in the last 100 metres and I'm just very pleased to get to the next stage, it's very hard to do.

"I knew there was a chance looking at the start list that I could get straight to the semi and that would have been ideal. I've backed up two 200m races in the same morning a couple of times this year, I knew that wasn't an issue, it was just about how fast everyone else was.

"It's still a bit surreal, we've been talking and thinking about this for so long. I still can't quite believe that I'm here and an Olympian, I'm enjoying it and trying to take it in."

Kerr won World Cup bronze in the 200m in May, just two days after triumphing in the same event at the Olympic qualifier.

She is supported back home by her parents, who have decorated their home with red, white and blue bunting. She jokes they've even given her 'permission' for the obligatory Olympic Rings tattoo, the ink of choice for athletes in Tokyo.

"I've worked very hard on the mental side of my canoeing," added Kerr.

"I've got a World Cup medal so why can't I get one at the Olympics too. I've got lots of confidence but no expectations. It's about racing as hard as I can and enjoying, you never know whether this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I never thought I'd come out of the World Cup with a medal, so who's to say it can't happen again in Japan? I'm going into it confidently but with no expectations.”

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