Mahe Drysdale's potential return to the single sculls for next year's Olympic Games has been boosted by Kiwi rival Robbie Manson's poor performance at the World Championships.
Manson and Drysdale have competing for New Zealand's men's single sculls spot ever since the two-time Olympic champion came back to the sport at the 2017 Christmas Regatta on Lake Karapiro.
Manson has consistently won selection since by beating the two-time Olympic champion but his consistent failure to deliver results on the international stage has been raising questions - even from himself.
The world record holder admitted to Radio Sport he once again fell short of expectations at this year's World Championships in Austria, finishing seventh overall and only just managing to qualify the Kiwi boat for the Olympics after winning the B final.
"I need to go back and talk with a few key people and figure out what to do next," Manson said.
"I'm not ruling anything out – I don't want to go to the Olympics and make up numbers, I want to have the best chance of winning a medal that I can. I'm open to different options."
Manson's performance yesterday comes after finishing fifth in both 2017 and 2018 at the world championships but the 29-year-old says this year's campaign in Austria was different from his other appearances.
"I've struggled physically a bit this year, I'm not really sure why. It's not for a lack of trying," Manson said.
"I threw absolutely everything I had at the semifinal, trying to make the final, and there were just three guys that were ridiculously fast – there was nothing I could do. On the day, I did the absolute best that I could in what is such a tough event – there's a lot of new countries and it's so tight. I'm really proud of the way I raced, I left everything out there."
Manson's comments comes after Drysdale told 1 NEWS exclusively he was willing to take another shot at reclaiming the single sculls boat for the Olympics after New Zealand's men's eight - Drysdale's current boat - failed to qualify.
"The writing's been on the wall for most of the year that some of the guys were struggling and weren't able to pull out the performances that we possibly should have got here.
"[The single sculls] was my first choice this year and the selectors decided to go a different direction and obviously we saw the result here."
Unless Rowing NZ opts to send the men's eight to the Last Chance Regatta in May next year to try and qualify, New Zealand will only have five spots available for male rowers at the Olympics - the single scull, double sculls and men's pair.