Olympic champion swimmer Agnel not to defend world title

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Paris, June 30 (IANS) Olympic and World 200 metres freestyle champion Yannick Agnel said that he will end his season after suffering from pleurisy, dropping off the chance to defend his title at the World Championships in August.

The 23-year-old Frenchman, who beat China’s Sun Yang and Park Tae Hwan of South Korea to win the 200m freestyle in London Games, preferred to skip the World Championships, to be held from August 2 to 9 in Kazan, Russia, to focus on his recovery for the Olympics, reports Xinhua.

“The Olympics are still my priority and I want to put all my chances for success in Rio,” said Agnel on Monday, also a member of the French team which won 4x100m freestyle relay in the 2012 Olympics and the 2013 Worlds in Barcelona.

“I know that it’s better to play safe since I had pleurisy in 2011. I’d prefer to fully recover first, rather than spending considerable energy to prepare the World Championships in conditions that are far from ideal.”

Agnel has spent more than one year in the United States to train under Michael Phelps’ mentor Bob Bowman in preparation for the Worlds.

“Thank you all for your support; everything is for the better. See you in Rio 2016!” he tweeted.

The Frenchman had posted the best time of the year at the 200m freestyle event in the national championships in Limoges two months ago. Though his personal life had gone through a tough time as his close friend and long time training partner Camille Muffat, the women’s 400m freestyle Olympic champion, died in a helicopter crash in Argentina in March.

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