World pole vault record-holder Armand Duplantis will not defend his title at the European Indoor Athletics Championships that will be held next month in Istanbul, Turkey.
The 23-year-old star was among five athletes eligible to compete at the games who have decided not to participate, the Swedish Athletics Association (SAA) said in a statement late Monday.
“I had of course hoped that he would participate. At the same time I have 100 percent confidence that his planning is correct with regards to his goals and his focus on being as good as possible when it counts the most,” team captain Kajsa Bergqvist said in the statement.
“I have been aware since December that the European Indoor Championship is not a high priority for Armand. He told me already then that his main focus was very clearly on the outdoor season,” Bergqvist continued.
The reigning Olympic pole Voult champion’s decision was not due to safety concerns, Swedish Athletics Association secretary general Stefan Olssons said. A Swedish team of 15 to 18 athletes will compete in the games, with a final line-up to be presented on Wednesday, the association said.