Rio Olympic high jump champion Derek Drouin will not compete Saturday at the Canadian track and field championships in Ottawa due to a “nagging” Achilles tendon injury, but is confident he’ll defend his world title next month in London, England.
“I keep reminding myself that [worlds] is the focus of the season,” said Drouin in a statement released by Athletics Canada. “I’ve been dealing with a nagging Achilles issue and my doctor told me this morning that it wasn’t in the best interests of my health to compete.
“[Nationals is] a competition that I look forward to every year. We don’t get a whole lot of chances to compete in Canada [and] there’s not a whole lot of opportunities for my family and friends to watch me. It’s disappointing on a number of levels.”
Athletes who finish first or second in their event at nationals also earn a spot on the Canadian team for the world championships, provided they have met the qualifying standard. A third spot, for those who either don’t perform well or at all at nationals, is discretionary and would be determined by the National Team Committee.
Drouin last competed on June 15 at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway, where the native of Sarnia, Ont., tied for third with a jump of 2.25 metres before missing all three attempts at 2.29. He pulled out of last week’s Diamond League meet at Paris in hopes he would heal enough to compete in Ottawa.
Drouin, with a personal best leap of 2.40, failed to clear the bar at 2.20 in May at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai, finishing the event without a successful attempt.
He spent much of late May and early June trying to get dialed in with his approach and raising the bar, literally, at practice “to get me ready for a championship season and hopefully a new personal best.”
In April, Drouin set a world record with a jump of 2.28 in the high jump portion of the Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational decathlon in Santa Barbara, Calif., and is aiming to compete for Canada in decathlon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
At the end of the month, the six-foot-five jumper won a fourth consecutive Drake Relays title, matching the world qualifying standard of 2.30.
After capturing a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, Drouin won Canada’s first gold in high jump since Duncan McNaughton in 1932 last August in Rio, tying his season best jump in the process by clearing 2.38.
Drouin then tried to break the Olympic record of 2.39 but missed in his single attempt at 2.40. He held up the Canadian flag, tearing up as he faced his parents and sisters in the stands.
In 2015, Drouin jumped 2.34 in Beijing to win at the world championships after his victorious jump of 2.37 at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.