Clint Robinson has failed in his bid to represent Australia at a sixth Olympic Games.
Clint Robinson has failed in his bid to represent Australia at a sixth Olympic Games. Contributed

London dream ends for a legend

THE storied career of Coast paddler Clint Robinson was almost certainly ended yesterday when his attempt to earn London Olympic selection following a lengthy retirement ended in failure at the national sprint titles in Penrith.

The 1992 K1 1000m Olympic champion had hoped to make his sixth Games team, but was eliminated after finishing fifth in the semi-final at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.

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Robinson, 39, a multiple world champion medallist, placed third in his heat earlier in the day.

He was no match for emerging under-23 paddler Glenn Rypp, who dominated the semi-final ahead of Western Australian Institute of Sport athletes Reece Baker and Brendon Sarson.

As expected, Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Ken Wallace, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear directly qualified for the K1 1000m final after winning their respective heats.

Robinson, who also won Olympic silver and bronze medals, ended a four year-plus retirement to have a crack at making the 2012 Games team.

The former ironman star was unavailable for comment yesterday, but it would be a surprise if he decided to extend his career further.

An Australian Canoe Sprint Championships spokesman described Robinson's elimination as "a bit of an upset".

"That's it for him," he said.

Earlier this month, Robinson conceded his Olympic dream was almost certainly over after he finished seventh in the final of the first Olympic qualifying event, the Oceania Sprint Championships at Penrith.

"I think my chances are quite slim, to be honest with you," he said at the time.

"But what I see in the sport is a healthy group of young people going quite well.

"And honestly, Murray's (Stewart) paddling at the NSW championship and here at the Oceania was very, very good and he is well and truly the best paddler on the water at the moment."