After finishing as surprise leader in the qualifying stages of the men's individual kayak slalom, Switzerland's Matthias Röthenmund was unable to win even an Olympic diploma following Wednesday's final.This content was published on September 20, 2000 - 09:34
Röthenmund finished in ninth position. Olympic diplomas go to all athletes who finish in the top eight of their sporting disciplines.
The electrician from Zurich managed to avoid any penalties in his two final runs, but was unable to match the speed of his rivals. As Röthenmund himself predicted after the heats, the pace of the competition accelerated rapidly in the final.
The Swiss paddler was left more than 10 seconds behind the eventual gold medal winner, Thomas Schmidt of Germany. Silver went to Britain's Paul Ratcliffe while Italy's Pierpaolo Ferrazzi took the bronze.
There was much less of a margin dividing Röthenmund from his original target of an Olympic diploma. The last diploma spot was taken by France's Laurent Burtz whose combined time was less than four-tenths of a second faster than Röthenmund's.
Switzerland has now finished in ninth place twice during the canoeing events, with Berne's Sandra Friedli also narrowly missing a diploma in the women's final on Sunday.
Adrian Bachmann will be the last member of the Swiss canoeing delegation to take to the water. The engineer from Rapperswil is entered in the 500-metre and 1000-metres individual kayak sprint, and begins his Olympic bid on Tuesday.
swissinfo with agencies
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