January 24, 2018 / 2:13 PM / a year ago

Cross-country skiing's Northug out of Norwegian team for Pyeongchang

FILE PHOTO: Norway's Petter Northug reacts after winning the men's cross country 50 km mass start classic race at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun March 1, 2015. Ê REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Norway’s double Olympic cross-country skiing gold medalist Petter Northug will not be going to Pyeongchang for next month’s Winter Olympics after failing to recover from a recent illness.

Despite a struggle for form and fitness so far this season, many Norwegian fans held on to the hope that the 32-year-old would be able to take part as a reserve, but Northug’s name was absent when the team was announced on Wednesday.

“Petter has said that it’s not on the agenda. He is not maximally prepared, he is still sick and therefore not at one hundred percent,” Northug’s coach Stig Rune Kveen was quoted as saying in newspaper VG.

Winner of 13 World Championship gold medals, Northug has also netted six Olympic medals for Norway, including two gold, a silver and a bronze at the 2010 games in Vancouver and two bronze medals in team events in Sochi four years later.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor; editing by Alexander Smith

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