(Reuters) – Olympic modern pentathlon champion Chloe Esposito has withdrawn from the Australian squad for this year’s Tokyo Games as she is pregnant with her first child, the 28-year-old has said.
With the Games set to begin on July 24, Esposito’s child is due to be born in August.
“A wonderful unexpected surprise has happened. My husband, Matt Cooper and I are bringing a Mini Cooper into the world this August,” Esposito said on Instagram, adding that she had no plans to retire.
“Defending my title will have to wait another four years.
“My priorities will change but the challenge of pregnancy to podium is a powerful dream. Very excited for a life changing 2020.”
Esposito won the Olympic title at Rio to become Australia’s first pentathlon gold medalist before taking a year-long break.
She returned to the top of the world rankings in 2018 after winning the World Cup final in Astana (Nur-Sultan) but endured a frustrating time last year due to a hamstring problem.
Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates was confident Esposito would be back representing the country in Paris 2024.
“While disappointed our Tokyo team will be missing one of its brightest stars, we’re delighted with her news,” Coates said in a statement.
“Chloe has been a wonderful ambassador for her sport, Australia and the Olympic movement. I’m sure we’ll see her back in Australian colors to recapture the title she won in Rio.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)