x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Injury keeps Rybakov on sidelines

Russian title holder Yaroslav Rybakov has not recovered from a foot injury in time to defend his title in the high jump at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Happier times for Yaroslav Rybakov include winning the men's high jump final in the 2009 IAAF Athletics World Championships in Berlin.
Happier times for Yaroslav Rybakov include winning the men's high jump final in the 2009 IAAF Athletics World Championships in Berlin.

Yaroslav Rybakov will not defend his world high jump title because of a foot injury, the Russian said Tuesday.

After initially ruling himself out of the world championships in South Korea earlier this month, Rybakov then changed his mind and decided to give himself another chance to compete in Daegu.

"Well, yesterday I tried to have a final workout but my injured foot just wouldn't let me do it," Rybakov said.

"I was hoping I would be able to shake off the injury, allowing me to compete in South Korea. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. Basically, my season is over now."

The world championships start on Saturday.

Rybakov, who claimed his first world outdoor title in Berlin two years ago, ruled out retirement, however.

"I'm not ready to talk about it now. Let's see what next year will bring. I still hope that I would be able to compete at the London Olympics," said the 30 year old, who finished third at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The Russians, who are not permitted to replace Rybakov in South Korea, have entered Alexander Shustov, the European champion, Ivan Ukhov, the world indoor champion, and Alexei Dmitrik, the national champion, in the men's high jump, meaning Andrei Silnov, the Olympic gold medallist, has missed out.

Elsewhere, American high jumper Jesse Williams hopes to end the US's drought in the event. With Rybakov out, Williams said he knows a path has been cleared for him to win the US's first high jump gold since Charles Austin stood on the top spot of the podium in 1991 at Tokyo.

"I will be the favourite and I like that," said Williams on the IAAF website.

"I've never got a medal, but I've been very consistent this year. I feel my chances are very good."