WEB EXCLUSIVE GOLD medal favourite Nathan Deakes has been ruled out of the Beijing Olympic Games.
In a major shock, the Geelong race walker has been forced out with a persistent hamstring injury, which dates back to the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.
An announcement was made by Athletics Australia this afternoon.
He is the second major withdrawal from the team, following Jana Rawlinson’s a fortnight ago.
Deakes has battled chronic hamstring problems for the majority of the past four years. He suffered a reoccurrence of the injury will training at St Moritz last week.
A MRI scan revealed a tear in the hamstring which will require surgery.
The Athens Olympics 20km walk bronze medallist and former world record holder and world champion over 50km, is shattered.
“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.”
Rawlinson’s absence left Deakes as the only current world champion in Australia’s squad.
Deakes had been training in St Moritz, Switzerland.
He was expected to start the gold medal favourite in the 50 kilometre event after his brilliant performance in taking victory at last year’s world championships.
Deakes won the bronze medal in the 20km at the 2004 Athens Games, but was disqualified in the 50km event when leading at the 34km mark.
Hamstring problems saw him pull out of the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.