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Kevin Mayer, the decathlon world record holder, has been forced to skip the upcoming World Athletics Indoor Championships because of an an Achilles problem. The Frenchman also revealed that his preparations were also hampered after contracting COVID-19 in January.

Mayer, who owns the outdoor decathlon world record and is ranked No. 2 on the all-time list in the indoor heptathlon competition behind American Ashton Eaton, was hoping to defend his title at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, but says he will not be able to compete. Read more: Watch All Gold-Medal Moments From The 2021 European Indoor Championships

The Olympic silver medalist who is yet to complete a multi-event this season after failing to finish in Aubière in January and at the German indoor championships in Miramas, last month, was slated to race in the 60m hurdles at a meeting in Paris at the weekend, but withdrew from the competition.

Mayer, who was relishing the opportunity to return to the Serbian capital in pursuit of a fourth global indoor title, noted that his Achilles problems became worse after he got Covid in January, which followed his second vaccine shot six months ago.

“I felt a pain in my right Achilles after my second vaccine in September,” the 30-year-old said in an AFP report. “I have no comment to make on the vaccine though.

“Everything was alright until I got Covid in January and after that I had more and more trouble shaking off residual pain after an event.” Read more: Who are the wild card entries for the 2022 World Indoor Championships?

Mayer, who tallied 6,348 points to win the world indoor championships title in 2018 in Birmingham, and then broke the world decathlon record six months later in Talence. He’s also won a pair of heptathlon crowns at the European indoor championships in 2017 and 2021 and has a personal best of 6479 points.

The Frenchman is now turn his attention to getting some rest and begin his focus on the World Athletics Championships in July in Eugene, Oregon. He won the world decathlon title in 2017, but injuries forced him to retire from the competition in the defense of his title in 2019 in Doha.

“The time has come for me to do the right thing and take a break,” added Mayer.

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