BERLIN (Reuters) - World and Olympic discus champion Robert Harting will not defend his title at this month's Beijing world championships as he does not want to risk his participation at next year's Rio Olympics after struggling to recover from a ligament injury.
Harting, who has won three consecutive world titles and the 2012 Olympic gold medal in London, said competing in Beijing would have been too risky for him as he still not 100 percent fit after tearing a cruciate ligament last September.
"Unfortunately this is not possible," he told reporters. "I just can't compete. I would have to take a risk that I cannot take.
"The temptation was certainly there and I always hoped. But if I tear a cruciate ligament again then I can forget about Rio."
Harting, who is known for his exuberant celebrations by ripping off his top, tore his cruciate knee ligament 11 months ago and has been working on a comeback since.
Beijing will host the world championships between Aug. 22-30.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar