Helen Jenkins: Triathlete has back fusion surgery

Helen Jenkins
Helen Jenkins finished 19th in the women's triathlon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio

Helen Jenkins has had back fusion surgery and says she will require another operation next week in order to lead "an active and healthy life".

The 33-year-old triathlete, a 2008 and 2011 ITU World Champion, had said she was looking to return at the World Series event in Leeds in June, 2018.

Jenkins is hoping to compete at a fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

"Having the surgery now at least gives me the opportunity to try and get back to compete," she wrote in a statement.

Jenkins, who gave birth to her first child, Mali, in August, had been gradually building up her training but says back spasms have left her in agony.

The Welsh athlete said she is suffering with spondylolisthesis and has been told by a surgeon that she has crushed nerves.

"My back is not going to get better. If anything it's only going to get worse if I do nothing," Jenkins wrote.

"I have spent a lot of time considering my options and discussing the best course of action with the support network I have. I wasn't willing to have major surgery on a whim."

Jenkins announced in April that she would not be competing in the Commonwealth Games.

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