Keely Hodgkinson has been ruled out of the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade after struggling to recover from a thigh injury.
British medal hopes were being pinned on Hodgkinson, who was being hotly-tipped to win gold in the 800m on Sunday after running the sixth fastest indoor 800m time in history last month.
That was a new British record time of one 57.20 seconds, which came in an 800m victory at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham.
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She has hit other notable highlights in an impressive fledgling career, after becoming Diamond League champion and the youngest-ever women’s 800m European indoor champion last year. In addition, Hodgkinson became the second-youngest British holder of the European Athletics Indoor Championships title.
As well as competing in the 800m, Hodgkinson was also set to compete in the 4x400m, with the heats also taking place on Sunday.
The 20-year-old says her focus is now on being ready for a very busy summer period, which includes the outdoor World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships.
"I’ve had a few days with this – the other quad, not the original one. I did everything I could do put myself in the best position to be on the start line today but it just wasn’t meant to be,” she said in quotes published by the Daily Mail.
“There may be a weakness there that we need to sort out, and going into the summer it’s just too big to risk anything at this stage.
“I want to go and get healthy and I want to start that process now rather than risk getting a tear or something worse. It’s probably the best, smart decision for us. I’m gutted but it’s part of the sport I guess.”
Hodgkinson’s withdrawal means Britain are at risk of completing a world championships without a medal for only the second time in the previous 35 indoor and outdoor campaigns.
The previous occasion came back in 2006, where Britain fielded a depleted line-up due to the upcoming Commonwealth Games that year.
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