Getty Images

Tongan Taufatofua undimmed in challenge for third Olympic Games

Tongan Taufatofua undimmed in challenge for third Olympic Games

15/02/2020 at 10:56Updated 15/02/2020 at 11:07

Tongan Olympic athlete Pita Taufatofua is not giving up on his attempt to be the first modern athlete to compete in three different Olympic sports.

The 36-year-old competitor made his name after entering the opening ceremonies in Brazil and South Korea in traditional dress and doused in coconut oil, as flag bearer for Tonga's team.

He failed to qualify for the Toyko 2020 sprint kayak even after missing the cutoff at a Sydney qualifier, finishing eighth in the heat.

Going into the K1 200m event at the Oceanisa Canoe Sprint Championships, he needed to win to qualify, but failed in his attempt. There is a second chance for him to qualify at the end of May in a World Cup event in Germany, and he may still qualify for the taekwondo discipline.

However he was held back by muscle damage and a broken rib.

Pita Taufatofua in the 2018 Winter Olympics

Pita Taufatofua in the 2018 Winter OlympicsGetty Images

"I went for it with all I had and fell short this time," said after the event.

"I felt my rib go on the second stroke and although I tried blocking out the pain I just couldn't catch the guy, but I love the sport of kayak and I'll be back as soon as I can walk straight."

Taufatofua has already taken part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio - in taekwondo - and cross-country skiing in Pyeongchang in the 2018 Winter Olympics.