China's Olympic and world champion Li Xiaopeng will surely miss October's world gymnastics championships and the year-end Asian Games while recovering from an ankle injury, according to a national coach.
"Li will surely be ruled out of the squad for the World Championships and possibly the Asian Games in Qatar," said Li's coach Chen Xiong on Wednesday.
"When he returns depends on his recovery. He may not come back until next year," he added.
The 25-year-old gymnast, who claimed the team and parallel bars gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and settled for a bronze in Athens four years later, failed to show up at the ongoing internal test of the national team while still nursing a left ankle injury.
Li sustained the injury during last Octorber's 10th National Games in Nanjing, East China, and had an operation on the ankle in January after the injury got worse in the following worlds held in Melburne, Australia.
"Li is in good recovery after the operation, and he has regained 50%-60% of his competitive form," said Chen.
"But he couldn't live up to the demand of the competition. His foot can't stand the impact of jumping. The ankle is still liable to being hurt."
Li now can do some basic tricks of vault, but hardly the difficult ones or routines, added Chen.
The difficulty of his routines has been already out of date since the new rules came into effect over half a year ago, and his main task in the second half of this year is to increase the degree of difficulty of his routines, according to Chen.
"We've already designed a new series of routines for Li, and in the second half of this year, he will practise the new routines on vault and parallel bars to raise his starting point," said Chen.