Thomas Van der Plaetsen, the European decathlon champion, has been forced to withdraw from the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade from 3-5 March after failing to recover in time from an injured knee.

The 26-year-old, who had been hoping to add to the European decathlon gold medal he won in Amsterdam last summer, wounded his knee during an accident in November 2016. With the injury not healing as quickly as expected, Van der Plaetsen doesn’t feel ready to compete at the highest level and has decided not to take any risks keeping the main goal for 2017 in mind: the IAAF World Championships in London.

Very unfortunate because Van der Plaetsen had his sights firmly set on building on his European outdoor title.