MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s James Magnussen will forgo the chance to win a third 100 metres freestyle title at the swimming world championships in Budapest and instead focus on defending his Commonwealth Games gold medal at the Gold Coast next year.
The 25-year-old, nicknamed ‘the Missile’, said he felt a strong Commonwealth Games field, which includes compatriots Kyle Chalmers, the reigning Olympic champion, and Cameron McEvoy, would offer a better benchmark than the global championship.
“World championships in the year after the Olympic Games, some people come, some people have the year off, like myself,” the three-times Olympic medallist said in comments published in The Australian newspaper on Wednesday.
”So I don’t feel like it’s a true test of being back at the top of the sport and I think the Commonwealth Games will really provide that for me.
”I think more than the event itself, it’s the competition standard that I will have at this Commonwealth Games (that makes it so important).
“If I can get back to my best and win this Commonwealth Games, I believe there’s no doubting that achievement.”
Magnussen won the 100m freestyle world title at Shanghai in 2011 and defended it in 2013 at Barcelona but missed the 2015 event in Kazan due to a shoulder injury.
He has struggled to return to his best form since the injury and failed to qualify in his pet event at the Rio Olympics but grabbed a bronze in the 4x100m relay.
Australia’s national championships, which double as trials for the world championships, will be held in Brisbane next week.
Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford