Algerian middle-distance runner Taoufik Makhloufi, the 1500m Olympic champion in 2012, has pulled out of the Tokyo Games with a knee injury, he told news agency APS on Monday.
The 33-year-old was an outside contender for a medal in Japan after winning 800m and 1500m silvers at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 1500m silver at the 2019 Doha world championships.
“I find myself forced to listen to my body and this knee that has long disrupted my preparation, just like the Covid-19 that I contracted last year,” Makhloufi said in a statement to Algeria’s APS.
Makhloufi also said he had “long been trying to postpone the deadline to make a final decision”.
He is the most decorated Algerian Olympian in history with three medals.
“Living up to expectations isn’t always easy, especially bringing the hopes of such a formidable people,” added Makhloufi, who said his “frustration would have been greater” if he had competed and returned empty-handed.