Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse will miss the world championships because of a torn right hamstring.
De Grasse suffered the injury on Monday during a training session at Mile End Stadium in London. An initial ultrasound revealed a hamstring strain and a further evaluation in Munich revealed a more severe diagnosis and competition in London to be ruled out.
De Grasse said that the 100-metre race in London was the focus of his entire year.
"Injuries are a part of the sport, and the timing of this one is especially unfortunate," De Grasse said in a statement on his Facebook page. "While I'm in the best shape of my life and extremely disappointed that I will not have the chance to compete for my country in London, I can't forget or be ungrateful for the successes that I've been blessed with up to this point in my career."
De Grasse adds: "I'll be back stronger and faster than ever."
The 22-year-old from Markham, Ont., was set to race against Usain Bolt in the 100-metre final at London Olympic Stadium. Bolt, an 11-time world champion, plans to retire after the worlds. De Grasse was supposed to open the worlds with the 100 heats on Friday before the final on Saturday.
"We tried to do everything we could to have him ready but he's just not going to be ready," De Grasse's manager, Paul Doyle, told Reuters.
"Further MRI results today showed it's probably going to be another four to six weeks before he's fully recovered. So unfortunately he's … done for the season."
The injury is a big blow to the Canadian team, which was relying on De Grasse for medals at the worlds. He was a medal threat in both the 100 and 200 metres and also served as the anchor on Canada's 4x100 relay team.
"I really feel for Andre, I know he really wanted to make a mark here at the world championships," Athletics Canada head coach Glenroy Gilbert said in a statement. "Injuries are part of the sport, obviously, the timing is terrible.
"As a team the focus doesn't change, we need to be ready to compete starting Friday. We've been talking about the depth of the program, now is a chance for some of our other stars to shine, and have some of our up and coming athletes step up."
De Grasse has had a strong season in the Diamond League and was atop the standings in both the 100 and 200 events.
De Grasse won bronze in the 100, silver in the 200 and bronze in the 4x100-metres relay at last summer's Rio Olympics. He won bronze at the 2015 worlds in the 100 metres while also capturing a bronze with the 4x100-metres relay team.
De Grasse first came on Bolt's radar last year at the Rio Games when the confident Canadian pushed him hard in the 200-metre semi-finals, prompting the Jamaican to wag his finger at the youngster.
The pair had seemed to get on well but the atmosphere between them had evidently chilled a little this year, if Bolt's comments at a media conference in London on Tuesday were anything to go by.
Asked who might fill his shoes after he retires, Bolt made what appeared to be a pointed reference to De Grasse when he responded: "I'm not going down that road. The last guy I said was going to be great disrespected me."
This was thought to be in response to De Grasse suggesting Bolt might be slowing down in his final season.
Also, there had been a claim from De Grasse's team that Bolt had tried to get the Canadian ousted from the 100 metres that he was running at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco – a suggestion of 'running scared' that the Jamaican vehemently denied.
De Grasse's absence from the 100 metres unquestionably boosts Bolt's chances of ensuring he adds an eighth individual World Championship gold to his incredible tally in his final solo race on Saturday.
With files from Reuters