Beijing: Five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe's comeback bid suffered a setback on Tuesday when he failed to qualify for the finals of the men's 100-meter freestyle and the 100 individual medley at a World Cup short course event.
The Australian finished the 100 in 50.21 seconds, placing 15th across modest heat fields. Teammate Kyle Richardson had the fastest time of 48.11 seconds.
In the individual medley, Thorpe finished ninth in 56.70, just two hundredths of a second off the last qualifying spot. Again Richardson had the top time of 54.77.
"It was OK. It wasn't my best performance in this series," Thorpe told reporters after the heats, adding it was the first time he has competed in a short course 100 meter race in 10 years.
The 29-year-old Thorpe came out of more than five years of retirement earlier this year in a bid to represent Australia at next year's London Olympics. Besides winning Olympic gold, Thorpe won 11 world titles and set 13 individual world records.
Thorpe said it was "almost absurd" to expect that he would start winning right away after five years away from competing.
He said he considered the results a stepping stone and that so far he was "pretty happy" with the results.