Longer road to China for Rhodes
By STEVE SPINKS
BYRON BAY'S hold on the K1 500m Kayak World Championship has been broken.
Paddler David Rhodes failed in his bid to secure a fourth World Championship in a row for the water-obsessed town at the weekend in Duisberg, Germany.
Previously, Byron's Nathan Baggaley had won three K1 500m races in a row.
Rhodes, the Australian champion, started the Championships brightly on Friday.
He finished second in his heat behind favourite Adam van Koeverden, of Canada.
However, things didn't go to plan in the semi-finals later that afternoon.
Rhodes managed an agonising third spot, only 0.5s behind second spot and a final appearance.
It immediately brought to mind Rhodes' near miss at the Athens Olympics in which he just failed by a similar margin to snatch a bronze medal with partner Daniel Collins in the K2 1000m.
Rhodes' third placing on Friday meant the 31-year-old paddler had to race in the B final on Sunday.
Unfortunately, Rhodes faded and finished eighth. Van Koeverden went on to claim gold in the event.
The result means Australia has not automatically qualified a boat for next year's Beijing Olympics, which would have happened had Rhodes finished in the top eight.
The strongly built Gold Coast-based paddler will now have to qualify a berth through Oceania to get to Beijing in the K1 500m event.