26.08.2008 – Graham Croker

The Australian combination of Lachlan Milne, a Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder, and Mark Bellofiore missed out by less than a second on qualifying for the Beijing Olympic Games C2 final after an action packed semi-final at the Shunyi Canoeing Park.

The Sydney-based duo finished seventh in a cut-throat semi-final, from which the top six fastest times progressed through to the medal round.

Spurred on by C1 bronze medallist Robin Bell, a fellow Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder, Milne and Bellofiore clocked a time of 104.17sec on the tough Shunyi whitewater course.

Having qualified in ninth place for the semi-finals, Bellofiore and Milne were the second boat to take to the rough water and cruised through the first 11 gates before striking trouble at gate 12.

They clipped the gate after coming in fractionally on the wrong angle, before also touching gates 13 and 14 to record six seconds of penalties. They completed the rest of the course cleanly and their adjusted time left them in seventh place and an agonising 0.54 seconds off a place in the six-boat final. Italy grabbed the cherished sixth place with a time of 103.64sec.

The Australian officially finished 7th, an improvement on their 12th placing at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Milne has maintained his sporting career while completing a degree in medicine at Sydney University. He was the Vice-Chancellor’s sport scholar in 2004, a scholarship combing sporting and academic excellence.

He also received the 2005 NSW Institute of Sport Academic Excellence Award and the 2005 AIS Educational Achievement award. In late 2005 to early 2006 he spent nine weeks working in a hospital in Papua New Guinea and plans to return there following the Games.

Since completing his degree in 2006, Milne has been working full-time as a resident at Nepean Hospital. In 2007 he was awarded the NSWIS Career Development Award and the AIS Vocational Achievement Award. His has hinted at retirement from competitive canoeing after the Games.