Tokyo Olympics: Lisa Carrington cruises into two semi-finals as canoe sprint gold medal hunt begins

Lisa Carrington has had the perfect start to her Tokyo Olympics campaign, winning her opening two heats in two disciplines of the canoe sprint at Sea Forest Waterway.

In her first race of the Tokyo Games, looking to defend her gold medal from Rio de Janeiro five years ago, 32-year-old Carrington was untroubled in her K1 200 heat.

Needing a top two finish to automatically progress into the semi-finals, Carrington comfortably took victory, crossing the finish line with a time of 40.715s - down on her personal best of 39.864s set in Rio.

The K1 200 semi-finals will be held from 12:30pm Tuesday, with the final at 2:37pm.

In the K2 500, Carrington again showed why she's favourite to add to her individual Olympic gold medal haul, booking a second semi-final spot, this time alongside Caitlin Regal.

The pair convincingly won their heat to seal an automatic semi-final spot, with a time of 1m 43.836s - more than a second ahead of second-placed finishers, Germany.

Carrington won gold in the K1 200 in Rio, as well as bronze in the K1 500 in Rio de Janeiro, making her the first New Zealand woman to win multiple medals at the same Olympics.

But Carrington and Regal's time was just the third fastest of the four heats, with Hungary's Tamara Csipes and Erika Medveczky (1m 42.776s) and Belarus' Volha Khudzenka and Maryna Litvinchuk (1m 43.377s) both finishing faster than the Kiwis.

The K2 500 semi-finals will be held at 1:23pm Tuesday, with the final at 3:46pm, giving Carrington the potential to win two gold medals on the same day.

This time around, Carrington has the chance to win a total of four medals, competing in the K1 200, K1 500, K2 500, and K4 500.

But things weren't as straightforward for fellow K2 500 pair Alicia Hoskin and Teneale Hatton.

The pair finished fourth in their heat, forced to try and earn their spot via the quarter-finals.

Needing a top four finish, Hoskin and Hatton did what they needed to do to reach the semi-finals, finishing fourth to join Carrington and Regal on Tuesday.