A gutted Scott Martlew has missed out on automatically qualifying a boat for next year's Paralympics after the first day of the canoe sprint world championships in Milan, Italy.
The Christchurch paddler, who lost his left leg to a rugby injury in 2010, was just 0.45secs off making the A final and pushing for the top-six finish that would've opened up a spot in paracanoeing's Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro.
Instead, he'll race tomorrow's B final, after finishing third in his KL3 200m semifinal behind Russia's Leonid Krylov and Ireland's Patrick O'Leary.
"I was disappointed with my result today - I just missed out on that A final and I'm frustrated that I miss out on chasing that top-six spot for qualification but I've got a crack at the B final, so hopefully I'll be able to improve my racing before then," Martlew said.
Krylov's 40.168sec time was the fastest in the semifinals, with Martlew's 43.688sec effort improving on his 44.186 heat time, though not by enough.
It's not the end of qualifying for the 22-year-old, however, with four more spots open at next year's world championships in Germany in May.
Martlew was the first of nine New Zealanders in action during the five-day championship, with reigning K1 200m champion Lisa Carrington getting underway in the longer K1 500m heats tonight. Carrington only needs a top-six finish in her heat to progress to the semifinals, as does fellow K1 paddler Marty McDowell, who's drawn in his 1000m heat alongside 2014 champion Josef Dostál (Czech Republic) and strong Belarussian Aleh Yurenia.
The other Kiwi crew in action tonight is the men's K2 1000m pairing of Darryl Fitzgerald and Zac Franich, who need a top-seven finish to make tomorrow's semifinals.
The championships boast more than 1000 athletes from 86 nations.
Full schedule available here: