London, Aug 4 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia's gold medal favourite in weightlifting Khadzhimurat Akkaev has withdrawn from the Olympics with a back injury, the national federation said Saturday.
Akkaev, the world and European champion, was expected to take the top prize in Monday's 105 kg category competition.
"We had hoped until the end that there was still a chance and that he could perform at the Olympics," said Russian weightlifting federation head Sergei Syrtsov.
"But now we can say that unfortunately, and there's no way back, he will take no part at the Olympics," he added.
"For us this is a huge blow, yet another gold medal has escaped us."
Akkaev, 27, had a back operation Aug 2, Syrtsov said.
He won silver in Athens and bronze in Beijing in the 94 kg division before stepping up to 105 kg, where Akkaev won gold at the world championships in Paris in November.