Thomas Röhler, the last Olympic athletics champion from Rio to miss Tokyo

DARMSTADT, Germany – Germany Thomas röhler on Monday ruled out defending his Olympic javelin title due to a back injury.

Röhler suffered an injury in training and has barely competed this year. He made a free throw at the German championships this month before retiring from competition.

“I have to listen to my body now because I want to continue practicing my sport for a few more years at the highest level,” said the 2018 European champion on the website of the German Athletics Association. “By participating in the Olympics, I would be risking too much because of this back injury.”

Röhler threw 90.3 meters to win Olympic gold in 2016 ahead of then-world champion Julius Yego from Kenya. Another German launcher, Johannes vetter, is considered a gold medal contender in Tokyo. The men’s javelin qualifying round will take place on August 4 and the final on August 7.

Most of Rio’s Olympic men’s track and field champions will not defend their titles in Tokyo.

The list of absentees includes Usain Bolt (100m and 200m, retirees), David Rudisha (800m), Mo Farah (5000m and 10000m), Kerron Clement (400m hurdles), Conseslus Kipruto (3000m steeplechase), Derek drouin (big jump), Jeff henderson (long jump), Christian taylor (triple jump), Dilshod Nazarov (hammer, doping ban), Ashton eaton (decathlon, retired) and Wang zhen (20 km walk).

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