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2017-07-26 11:44:00 CEST

Injured Kerri gutted to miss World Champs

American star looking at the bigger picture

Kerri won the world title three times in the past with Misty May TreanorKerri won the world title three times in the past with Misty May Treanor

A heartbroken Kerri Walsh Jennings spoke of her disappointment of pulling out of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 due to a shoulder injury.

The three-time World and Olympic champ flew home to the US after sustaining a shoulder problem in last week’s tournament in Poland but teammate Nicole Branagh will now be partnered by Emily Day in Vienna.

Walsh, the champ in 2003, 2005 and 2007 with Misty May, said: “I am so incredibly sad to miss this opportunity to play in such a meaningful and prestigious event in such a beautiful city.

“Ultimately, my decision to withdraw was based upon the big picture. We are three-plus years away from our ultimate goal of qualifying for and winning gold in Tokyo 2020.

“To try and ‘tough out’ this event when my shoulder has so recently been compromised would be silly.

“All my very best for an amazing World Championship event. I am extremely sad to miss it and yet I wish the athletes, the organizers and the fans a highly successful event and a great time!”

Kerri is no stranger to shoulder problems throughout her illustrious career – but now she is focused on making a full recovery in her bid to win a historic fifth beach volleyball medal at a summer Olympics.

“I’m heading in to get my MRI & CT scans,” said the 38-year-old. “I've been here before and I know that I can execute my recovery and return to competition in a better, more disciplined, more sustainable and a more powerfully effective way. That is my aim -- for I have much left that want to accomplish in this sport – both on and off the court!”

Day and Branagh get their championships under way on the Red Bull Beach Arena on Saturday when they take on Germans Bieneck/Schneider in Pool A.

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