Ricarda Funk was in superb form at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in Markkleeberg ©Balint Vekassy/ICF

Germany's Ricarda Funk almost certainly secured her ticket to Tokyo 2020, and Slovakia's Alexander Slafkovský took a major step towards qualifying for his first Olympics at the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Slalom World Cup.

Home favourite Funk smashed a world-class field in Markkleeberg to win the women's K1 final by more than three seconds in 1min 35.27sec, and in doing so earned Olympic qualification to the German team. 

The selection will be finalised if Germany earn a Tokyo 2020 quota at next month's ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in La Seu d'Urgell in Spain.

"Four years ago I was really nervous and I really messed up my Olympic qualifications," Funk said.

"This is why it means so much more for me.

"It will be great. 

"I don’t want to be happy too early, but this is a good position to start."

Reigning world champion Jessica Fox of Australia finished second in 1:39.02, while Italy’s Stefanie Horn came third in 1:39.62.

Slovakia's Alexander Slafkovský won the men's C1 event ©Balint Vekassy/ICF
Slovakia's Alexander Slafkovský won the men's C1 event ©Balint Vekassy/ICF

Competition for the one available Olympic berth on the Slovakian men's C1 team, one of the most hotly contested positions in the sport, began this weekend, and it was Slafkovský who landed the first blow by winning today's final. 

The 36-year-old posted a time of 1:32.54 to finish 1.79 seconds ahead of Slovenia’s Luka Božič and a further 0.1 seconds clear of Germany’s Franz Anton.

Slafkovský will battle it out over four events, with Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Matej Beňuš and two-time Olympic gold medallist Michal Martikán to determine who will go to Tokyo 2020.

He is the only member of the trio never to have been to the Olympics.

"This is why it is so emotional for me, it is probably the last chance for me to go to the Olympics," Slafkovský said.

"I’m really happy that I made the first step, but there is way too long to go still. 

"This is the first step of the journey."

Anton kept his Olympic dreams alive by finishing ahead of team mate Sideris Tasiadis, with the battle for Germany's quota to be decided at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.