Pune : Star Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim has pulled out of the 20th Asian Athletics Championships due to a back strain, taking the sheen off the continental showpiece event which has already seen pull-outs by some of the top draws.
“Off for a while, Out from Birmingham DL (Diamond League) and the Asian championship, back injury,” Barshim, the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist and current world leader, wrote on his Twitter page.
A Qatari official said Barshim wanted to compete but had to think about avoiding aggravating his injury in view of the World Championships in Moscow.
“He wanted to compete in the Asian Championships but he has to think over the situation that he may aggravate his injury and World Championships is next month,” he said.
The 22-year-old, who is also the defending champion, was one among the very few star attractions left in the Championships after some top athletes of the continents decided to skip the five-day event. Barshim cleared 2.40 metres while winning the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Eugene, USA last month to emerge as season leader in the world. He became the first high jumper since 2000 to clear 2.40 metres outdoors.