Ben Fouhy found the edge he needed last night to paddle his way into the K1 1000m canoeing final.
The former world champion and Athens Games silver medallist finished second in his semifinal - from which the first three across the line secured final spots for tomorrow - behind Australian Ken Wallace.
Wallace led from shortly before the 500m and won in 3m 33.255, from Fouhy, 2.287s back with Swede Markus Oscarsson third a further .651s behind.
And K2 1000m pair Steven Ferguson and Mike Walker backed up Fouhy's effort by qualifying for their final by finishing second in their semifinal. They led until just before the finish line, clocking 3:23.511, .103s behind Latvians Krists Straume and Kristaps Zalupe.
On Monday, Fouhy was downcast after his heat, struggling to find the necessary energy for the draining challenge. However he had more vim about him yesterday and it showed on the water.
"I'm a lot happier," he said. "I'm through to the final and you can't win Lotto if you don't have a ticket."
Fouhy, Oscarsson and South African Shaun Rubenstein spent most of the race engaged in a three-for-two contest with Wallace comfortably advancing once he had got in front.
Fouhy was fourth at the 250m, slipped to fifth at halfway and was still fourth with 250m remaining.
But a good final quarter got him in front of Rubenstein. He believes his confidence has received a decent boost.
"I had my tail between my legs when I came into it and Monday only confirmed those reservations," he said.
"I did a bit of soul searching and dug pretty deep. I raced a bit more aggressively and managed to pull my form up. Now I have an opportunity."
The second semifinal was won by German Max Hoff in 3:32.847, from Croat Stjepan Janic and Hungary's Zoltan Benko.
Fouhy, who won the world title in 2003 not long after taking up the sport, has been battling for form for the last year.
The 29-year-old from Taumarunui admitted he's had dark times and wondered what his paddling future held.
"Fortunately the gods were smiling on me and I found something I didn't have on Monday," he said.By David Leggat Email David