Olympic silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have been forced out of the upcoming sailing world championships due to a fractured foot suffered by Maloney during training.
Maloney and Meech were contenders to add to the 49erFX title they won in 2013 in Melbourne but an awkward fall from Maloney while performing a tack during practice racing led to the serious injury.
Coach Nathan Handley said they didn't believe the injury was "too bad at first".
"She came in and iced it and we thought it was just bruised, but later on as it was still hurting we got some x-rays and found out there's a fracture in the foot.
"The girls are devastated, obviously, being so close to the world championships and having this sort of injury. They were in really good shape. They were sailing well, the boat was going well and we definitely thought we had a good shot at the podium here in Geelong."
Maloney and Meech were headed into today's world championships in strong form after finishing second at last week's Oceania Championships but the bigger concern now is what effect the injury will have on the duo's build-up to this year's Olympics in Tokyo.
"We are still waiting to find out more information about it because it's such early days," Handley said.
"The Olympics is the main goal. We will sort out a calendar when we know more information on the injury and when we can get her back in shape and back in the boat."
Maloney is returning home from Australia this week to see a specialist.