Beijing, ChinaWorld 50km Race Walk champion Nathan Deakes is out of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Deakes, who has battled chronic hamstring problems for the majority of the past four years, suffered a reoccurrence of the injury at his training base in St Moritz, Switzerland, last week.
A subsequent MRI scan revealed a hamstring tear that will require surgery, ending Deakes’ Olympic campaign.
Deakes, an Athens Olympic Games bronze medallist over 20km, and former World record holder and reigning World champion over 50km, is shattered to end his Olympic campaign.
“I’m still in a bit of shock,” Deakes said. “I’m sure it will sink in in the middle of August when I’m watching the Games.”
“There was no decision to make unfortunately, my body made the decision for me. I have to have surgery to fix it as the hamstring tendon has come away from the bone at the pelvis; it will mean a six to nine month recovery process.”
Deakes previously had surgery on the hamstring in 2003 but returned to win a bronze medal in the 20km event in Athens. The problem resurfaced in 2005, forcing his withdrawal from the world championships, but he bounced back to win the 20km and 50km gold medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, ahead of his world record performance in Geelong in December 2006 and his world championships win in Osaka.
Deakes has only raced once since his world championship triumph in Osaka last August, and that was nearly nine months ago over 10km in Piacenza, Italy. He missed the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary, Russia, in early May, flying home from London to seek treatment on his troublesome hamstring.
After a month out of training, Deakes believed his Games campaign was back on track, leaving for St Moritz in June. He will now return to Australia once he can organise flights.
Australia will be represented by Jared Tallent and Adam Rutter in the men’s 50km walk on the morning of Friday, 22 August in Beijing.