Jake Wightman will not defend his 1,500-meter title at next month's world championships due to a foot injury suffered during a training camp earlier this year, the British runner said Wednesday.
The 28-year-old was a surprise winner in Eugene, Oregon, last year when he beat Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen on the final lap, with his father Geoff Wightman calling him home as the stadium announcer.
Wightman fractured his foot while training in South Africa and said he had "run out of time" to return to full fitness for worlds, scheduled for Aug. 19-27 in Budapest, Hungary.
"As a result of my injury I sustained in February, I've had to deal with several more set backs as I prepared to race this summer," Wightman wrote on Instagram. "... This means I'm sadly going to be unable to compete at Worlds which has been really gutting to come to terms with."
Wightman also won the 1,500-meter bronze at the Commonwealth Games and 800-meters silver at the European championships.
He has not raced this season but was guaranteed a place at the world championships as defending champion. Wightman is choosing to focus on next year's Olympic Games in Paris.
"My focus has to be on getting my body rested and ready for 2024, to ensure I'll be back performing at my best," Wightman wrote. "There are some risks I could've taken to be on that Budapest start line, however the potential to jeopardise my Olympic year makes this the obvious decision.
"I'm currently taking some down time before starting my rehab, ready to be back running safely and pain free by the end of August."