The Commonwealth Games have been rocked by another high-profile withdrawal after Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra made the sad call to pull out.
India's Olympic association announced on Tuesday that Chopra will not defend his Commonwealth Games javelin title in Birmingham due to injury.
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The 24-year-old produced a throw of 87.58 metres in Tokyo last year to become the first Indian athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Chopra, who hails from the northern Indian state of Haryana, won gold medals at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2018 and had been chosen as India's flag-bearer for Thursday's opening ceremony in Birmingham.
However he has since made the heartbreaking call to withdraw from the Games after complaining of 'discomfort' in his thigh at last week's world championships in the United States.
"Chopra had called me earlier today from the US to convey his inability to take part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games owing to fitness concerns," Indian Olympic Association secretary general Rajeev Mehta said in a statement.
"(He) had an MRI scan done on Monday and, based on it, he has been advised a month's rest by his medical team."
Chopra sent his javelin soaring to a distance of 88.13m at the world championships in Eugene, but had to settle for second place behind Grenada's Anderson Peters.
Nevertheless, it still marked India's first-ever silver medal at a world championships and only the country's second overall after Anju Bobby George took bronze in women's long jump in 2003.
Speaking after the event in Oregon, Chopra was quoted as saying by the NDTV news network: "After the fourth throw I did feel a bit of discomfort in my thigh, I wasn't able to put in that much effort.
"That was on my mind, but I just wanted to make sure I can throw. So I strapped my thigh."
Chopra threw farther in Oregon than he did in Tokyo and declared himself "satisfied" with the silver medal.
"The hunger for gold will continue in me," he said.
"But I have to believe we cannot get gold each time."
The injury means Chopra will no longer be the flag-bearer for the 200-plus Indian contingent in Birmingham.
"Neeraj has said that since he is not 100 percent fit to compete at the Commonwealth Games, he would not be the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent at the athletes' parade in the opening ceremony," Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla said.
Athletics fans left gutted for Neeraj Chopra
Chopra had been in top form so far this season, breaking his own national record at the Diamond League event in Stockholm in June with a personal best throw of 89.94m.
India, the Commonwealth's most populous country, is not generally known as a sporting powerhouse outside of cricket.
However the nation has regularly performed well at the Games.
They came third in the overall medal tally behind Australia and England at the Gold Coast Games in 2018 and finished in the top five at the previous four.
Chopra's withdrawal follows that of Australian runners Liz Clay and Riley Day earlier this week. Clay broke her foot after falling in the hurdles heats in Eugene, while Day has been battling a knee injury for the majority of the year.
— RVCJ Media (@RVCJ_FB) July 26, 2022
Sad to see @Neeraj_chopra1 miss out on the CWG - thrilled that he was however able to compete and win a silver at the world championships - for athletes peaking at the world champs and Olympics is what matters and I hope and pray for his speedy recovery.
— Parth Jindal (@ParthJindal11) July 26, 2022
— NeerajChopra_Sources (@NChopra_Sources) July 26, 2022
This is very sad news, all the best for a quick and fast recovery @Neeraj_chopra1! #CommonwealthGames2022
Injured Neeraj Chopra advised one-month rest, pulls out of Birmingham Commonwealth Games https://t.co/ErKsr4PKMv via @IndianExpress
— Dinesh Bakshi (@Dinesh_Bakshi) July 26, 2022
How sad for him, such an honour to be the flag bearer
— linda almond (@lindaalmond8) July 26, 2022
Very sad to hear about this
I know India and all Bhartiya Love you so much
Come back soon 🙏
जय हिन्द 🙏
— Yogarvind (@Arvind94271048) July 26, 2022
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