Canadian Derek Drouin, the reigning Olympic and world high jump champion, will not defend his world title in London this weekend due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Drouin, a 27-year-old from the University of Indiana, has not competed since June 15, according to Tilastopaja.org, due in part to the injury.
“I knew I was dealing with an injury that would make my chances of competing come down to the wire,” Drouin said in an Athletics Canada press release. “My support team did everything they could to give my Achilles time to heal, we didn’t want to rush back. We just ran out of time. I’ve been progressing, but wasn’t able to get into championship level shape that I expect of myself.”
Drouin had a top high jump clearance this year of 2.33 meters, which ties for fourth in the world for 2017. Drouin won in Rio with a 2.38-meter clearance and at the 2015 Worlds with a 2.34-meter clearance.
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim was the overwhelming favorite in London even before Drouin’s withdrawal. Barshim owns Olympic silver and bronze and a 2013 World silver medal but has no global outdoor titles. He has cleared 2.36 meters or better at three different meets this year. Nobody else has cleared higher than 2.35 meters.
Before the Achilles injury, Drouin had been training for the decathlon with an eye on multi-eventing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Drouin’s absence is the latest blow for Canada, which claimed six medals in Rio (its most since 1932) and a national recod eight at the 2015 Worlds.
Andre De Grasse, a triple Rio sprint medalist, withdrew before worlds with a strained hamstring.