The 2017 World Para Athletics Championships will have a notable absence as German Vanessa Low announced on Tuesday that she will not be defending her title in London.
Low is the T42 long jump world and Paralympic champion, also holding the world record in the event. A back injury in June made the year difficult but she fought through and won gold, vindicating her decision to continue in the sport.
The decision to miss London 2017 is designed to prolong her career, as she looks to continue through to Tokyo 2020. With the injury last year, Low has been thinking about longevity and as such missing events is almost mandatory to go for another three years.
Competing with pain last year, the lure of the Paralympic Games was enough to get Low through but it meant that her back injury never fully recovered. As a result Low has opted to have a lighter schedule in 2017, including missing the event in London.
“I was in pain for months and months just to get through training so I think that was also part of the reason I thought about retiring because every day I had pain in my back. I never had time to take rest.” Said Low, “so I took some time off sport and travelled a bit to see if I missed (sport) or not, and whether I was willing to put in the rehab work to make it work for another three and a half years.”
Despite missing the world championship this year she still has lofty goals, and will be focusing on the Long Jump rather than her 100m. She has spoken of wanting to jump five meters, her current world record standing at 4.92m, and with three and a half years to work on adding those last eight centimeters it certainly seems possible that she could do it and this year off will help get her health back.
“I still feel like there are so many things to work on. Now having so much time to work on certain things is amazing because I know it will pay off.” Said Low.