South African sprint sensation Wayde van Niekerk will be out of action for six months with a knee injury requiring surgery.
The 25-year-old made the announcement on Tuesday.
The 400m world record holder has arrived in the United States where he will undergo a medical procedure at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado.
Van Niekerk, the world and Olympic one-lap champion, picked up medial and lateral tears of the meniscus, as well as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), while participating in a recent celebrity touch rugby match in Cape Town.
Following surgery, he will undergo rehabilitation for six months in Vail, Doha and South Africa and will therefore be unavailable to represent South Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in April.
“I was looking forward to competing in the 100m and 200m events in the Gold Coast and participating at the national championships in March so this is unfortunate timing,” Van Niekerk said.
“But this is sport and these things happen. I trust that the team I have around me, including the medical professionals will make this process as smooth as possible.”
He adds: “I have faith that God willing, I’ll be able to race again later next year. Full recovery is going to be crucial, so I’ll be patient, but I will work as hard as I can to get back on the track as soon as possible.”