Tokyo - Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe flopped again in his comeback bid, failing to reach the final of the 100 metres freestyle at a World Cup meet in Tokyo on Saturday.
Winner of five Olympic gold medals, Thorpe clocked 49.45 seconds at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre to finish 12th in the heats and miss out on the final.
It was Thorpe's second successive setback in an event he once dominated, having failed to reach the final in Beijing earlier this week.
Australian head coach Leigh Nugent put a positive spin on the result as Thorpe, returning to competitive swimming after a five-year absence, trimmed 0.76 seconds off his time in China.
"He dropped nearly a second in his final 50 from Beijing," Nugent was quoted as saying by the Australia's AAP news agency.
"The time drop was a significant leap for Ian and that swim shows the sort of improvements that he can make."
Thorpe, who hopes to qualify for next year's London Olympics, has withdrawn from the heats for the 100m individual medley.