Defending women’s singles champion Carolina Marin has pulled out of the 2019 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships due to injury.
The Spaniard, who has won three of the past four women’s singles world titles and is the reigning Olympic champion, announced on her official Twitter page that she has been unable to recover fully in time from the Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury that she suffered at the Indonesia Masters in January.
Her decision was conveyed to the BWF over the weekend and came prior to the draw for the World Championships conducted at the BWF headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
The event itself is scheduled to be held in Basel from August 19 to 25.
"My team and I have decided that we are not going to play the World Championships because we are very short of time," Marin said.
"The recovery is going well, so we will wait until the tournaments of September."
Meanwhile, Denmark's Viktor Axelsen and Shi Yuqi of China have pulled out of the men's singles event at the BWF World Championships due to injury.
Axelsen, the 2017 world champion, cited a disc protrusion that was leading to pain in his back and legs as the reason for his ommission.
"The World Championships is the biggest event of the year and I had obviously been looking forward to playing," the Dane said.
"I’ve done everything I could to get ready for the World Championships, but I must also be realistic and listen to my body and to the doctors' advice."
Shi, meanwhile, suffered a left ankle injury at last month's Indonesia Open and has not been able to recover in time for Basel.
The withdrawals of Axelsen and Shi opened a spot for India’s HS Prannoy and the gold medal winner in the mixed team event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games finds himself in the quarter of draw that also includes five-time champion Lin Dan of China, Malaysian hope Lee Zii Jia and Japan's Kento Momota, who defeated Shi in the final of the 2018 BWF World Championships in Nanjing.
Among the interesting first round match-ups in the men’s singles event are Lin against fellow veteran Nguyễn Tiến Minh of Vietnam, Lee versus Brazil's Ygor Coelho and second seed Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei against Denmark's Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.
In the women’s singles competition, top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan might have to contend with 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in her quarter, while second seed Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei faces the prospect of a clash with two-time runner-up P. V. Sindhu of India in the last eight.
"We are delighted to be celebrating the 25th edition of our Badminton World Championships this year," BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer said in the opening address.
"The event has come a long way since the first edition in Malmo, Sweden in 1977.
"It is also the first time the World Championships and the Para Badminton World Championships are being held concurrently, so we are very excited.
"The tournament also comes at a crucial time for our athletes as they continue their quest to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
"I look forward to seven incredible days of badminton in Basel and I wish all the players the best of luck."
The draw was witnessed by Wong Choong Hann, high performance director of Badminton Association of Malaysia, and Malaysian players Lee, Shevon Jemie Lai and Goh Soon Huat.
"It’s a fair draw for us in all departments," said Wong.
"Lee has a good chance against top players. We’re looking at him to clear the early rounds and play Kento Momota.
"We have to prepare ourselves for the big stage.
"I think men’s singles is the most open [category] because of the absence of Viktor Axelsen and Shi Yuqi. Lee Chong Wei is also not competing for the first time in a long while.
"A lot of upcoming youngsters like Anders Antonsen, Anthony Ginting, Jonatan Christie and Zii Jia are there."
A total of 383 players from 46 member associations will contest this year’s BWF World Championships.