High jumper Drouin 'pleased' with injury progress ahead of worlds
Achilles injury has hampered reigning Olympic champion's season
Canadian high jumper Derek Drouin says he's making steady progress from an Achilles injury in advance of his title defence at this week's track and field world championships in London, England.
The injury forced the 2016 Olympic champion to withdraw from the Canadian nationals in early July at Ottawa after the Achilles "flared up" on June 15 at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway, where Drouin tied for third with a jump of 2.25 metres. He hasn't competed since.
"My coaches, IST [Integrated Support Team] and I decided it was in my best interest to take some time off to allow my Achilles to heal before slowly re-introducing some dynamic workouts into my training in the final stages before worlds," Drouin told CBC Sports in an email.
Dynamic exercises are movements such as high knee lifts or side lunges you perform to prepare your body for more strenuous activity. The movements warm and loosen your muscles, thus preventing injury and improving performance.
"We have been diligent in treating the issues and things have been improving steadily," said Drouin from Athletics Canada's pre-worlds training camp in Spain.
Drouin, 27, said he and his coach, Jeff Huntoon, have set benchmarks he would like to meet by certain dates to prove he is competition-ready. While the event begins Friday, the high jump qualification is set for Aug. 11 and the final two days later on the final day of competition at London Stadium.
"We have been testing [the Achilles] more each day and I'm pleased with the progress," said Drouin, a native of Sarnia, Ont. "It is my goal to arrive in London ready to defend my title, and I know what training marks will indicate that condition."
In April, Drouin set a world record with a jump of 2.28 in the high jump portion of the Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational decathlon in Santa Barbara, Calif., and is aiming to compete for Canada in decathlon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
At the end of the month, the six-foot-four jumper matched the world qualifying standard of 2.30 in winning a fourth consecutive Drake Relays title.
Drouin may have first injured the Achilles in mid-May at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai, where the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist failed to clear the bar at 2.20 and finished the event without a successful attempt.
In March 2011, Drouin tore two ligaments off his right foot that required two metal screws to be inserted and then removed three months later. After the Rio Olympics last August, Drouin said he competed with two stress fractures in his spine.
"As an experienced athlete who has gone through this before, I am confident in my support team and my ability to deal with less-than-favourable conditions," said Drouin. "I have been working with many people who have a lot of experience with similar injuries [to mine]."
At the 2015 world championships, Drouin jumped 2.34 in Beijing following his victorious jump of 2.37 at the Toronto Pan Am Games.