Iranian super heavyweight Behdad Salimi has been ruled out of the World Weightlifting Championships in Houston after suffering a serious knee injury during a pre-event training session.
The London 2012 Olympic gold medallist had to be helped off the field before a MRI scan revealed that he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Despite missing out on the World Championships, which are scheduled to take start on Friday (November 20) to last until November 28, Salimi remains hopeful of being able to defend his Olympic crown at Rio 2016.
"My doctor said I should have surgery since I’ve torn my ACL," said the two-time world champion.
"I will return to the field after four months.
"I want to win the gold in the 2016 Olympic Games."
Salimi’s injury marks a second major blow for the Iranian Weightlifting Federation ahead of the World Championships after the absence of heavyweight Saeid Mohammadpour was confirmed last month.
The 2011 world bronze medallist dislocated his elbow while attempting to lift 190 kilograms at an event in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.
Iran will have Kianoush Rostami among their ranks at the World Championships however, with the two-time and reigning 85kg world champion featuring on the final list of entries revealed in October.
The list also includes current world and Olympic men’s 56kg gold medallist Om Yun-Chol of North Korea, and compatriot Kim Un-guk, winner of the men’s 62kg Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and at the World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, last year.
The 2015 edition of the International Weightlifting Federation’s annual flagship competition looks likely to be the biggest in history, with 748 athletes from 105 countries set to participate.
The event, which will be staged at the George R. Brown Convention Center, represents the first time the competition has come to the United States in 40 years and forms part of the qualification process for Rio 2016.
The equipment used at the competition, supplied by World Championships partner Eleiko Sports, will carry the colours of the American flag.
All of the weights will incorporate an "Americana" theme with red, white and blue colouring as well as stars to represent the flag.
October 2015: Five Olympic and 10 world champion among entries at 2015 IWF World Weightlifting Championships
August 2015: Eleiko Sports to create American flag-themed equipment for World Weightlifting Championships in Houston
February 2015: Logo for 2015 World Weightlifting Championships unveiled
November 2014: Exclusive: North Korea hopes to host Weightlifting World Championships
November 2014: 2017 Weightlifting World Championships to be held in Penang