Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua ambition of competing at a third successive Olympic Games in different sports was dealt a significant blow after he failed to earn a quota place at the Oceania Canoe Sprint Association Championships in Sydney.
Taufatofua represented his country in taekwondo at Rio 2016 and also featured in cross-country skiing at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.
He went viral as Tonga's flag bearer in Rio, having completed the task shirtless and oiled.
Taufatofua’s chances of competing in kayaking at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics look increasingly unlikely, after missing out in the men’s K1 200 metres event at the Oceania Championships.
Samoa’s Tuva'a Clifton earned the quota place for his country after achieving a time of 39.48 seconds in the crucial heat.
The Cook Islands’ Te Aro'a Pekepo missed out on the berth in second in 44.79, with Taufatofua a further five seconds off the pace.
Taufatofua will have another chance to qualify in kayaking at the Canoe Sprint World Cup event at Duisburg in Germany during May, while he will also contest a taekwondo Olympic qualifier later this month.
The K2 200m competition continued after the Olympic qualifying heat, with Australia’s Matt Goble winning the continental title.
He won the final in a time of 35.40, with compatriots Ethan Neville and Bill Bain rounding off the top three in 36.34 and 37.17 respectively.
Australia’s Alyce Wood and Alyssa Bull won the women’s K2 500m, with the Rio 2016 Olympians triumphing in 1min 41.44sec.
The pairing finished over two seconds clear of Jaime Roberts and Jo Brigden-Jones, who they competed with in the K4 event at the 2019 World Championships.
An all-Australian podium was completed by Cat McArthur and Brianna Massie in 1:44.98.
The duo had been responsible for securing the country’s Olympic quota spot in the event yesterday.
Tom Green boosted his hopes of being selected for Australia’s Olympic team by winning the men’s K1 1000m title in a time of 3:30.37.
Fellow Australians Jean van der Westhuyzen and Jordan Wood completed the podium places in 3:32.20 and 3:34.01, respectively.
Bernadette Wallace overcame her C2 team-mate Josephine Bulmer to win the women’s C1 200m in 49.02.
Bulmer finished 1.87 seconds off the pace to finish as the runner-up, with Japan’s Tokui Misaki rounding off the top three in the open event in 54.01.
Benjamin Manning backed up winning an Olympic quota spot yesterday by triumphing in the men’s C1 1000m in 4:10.57.
Japan’s Araki Yuta and Australia’s Sebastian Marczak completed the top three in times of 4:20.94 and 4:21.23, respectively.
The Championships will conclude tomorrow.