Australian Ash Moloney has made the difficult decision to withdraw midway through the decathlon at the world championships after a painful knee injury became too much to bear.
The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist has battled patellar tendinitis in both knees for much of the year but was still hopeful he could get through the gruelling 10-event competition in Eugene.
Moloney was able to finish the seventh event, the discus, on Sunday before reluctantly pulling out while lying eighth overall.
It was the first time he had ever failed to finish a decathlon.
The next event was the pole vault, always a difficult discipline for decathletes.
I’ve been pushing through pain for quite a while and I don’t know if I’ve used up all my luck,” said the 22-year-old.
“It’s getting to the point now where my body is like, ‘just stop’.
“I was struggling to put my foot down … and I was starting to feel like I couldn’t run properly.
“It was not worth almost killing myself in an already deadly event.”
Moloney had a big ice pack on his right knee on Sunday, but said he had been troubled by patellar tendinitis in the left one as well.
“It’s just the nature of the beast,” said the Queenslander, who had been in fifth spot after the opening day of competition.
“We do 10 events and we’ve got to train really hard all the time.
“Sometimes the body doesn’t co-operate.
“Sometimes you’re just not lucky.”
Despite being in clear physical distress, Moloney was not ready to rule out the prospect of recovering in time for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“I don’t draw a line in the sand until I’m there,” he said.
“I’ll let it play out and we’ll see what happens.”
The Commonwealth decathlon starts on August 4.
With Moloney pulling out, Cedric Dubler (10th) and Daniel Golubovic (15th) were left to fly the Australian flag.