Gymnastics-Jones withdraws from US championships over shoulder injury

FILE PHOTO: Shilese Jones waits to practice her beam routine during the second day of a two-day media event with the USA Gymnastics team ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Katy, Texas, U.S. February 5, 2024. REUTERS/Kaylee Greenlee Beal/File Photo

(Reuters) - Shilese Jones has pulled out of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships to focus on healing her sore shoulder in the hope that she will be at full strength in next month's Olympic trials in Minneapolis.

Jones, who played a key role in helping the U.S. win team gold at the World Championships in 2022 and 2023, placed second in the all-around behind Simone Biles at the Classic earlier this month.

"Unfortunately, I won't be participating in the Xfinity Championships this year," Jones said in a statement hours before the women's portion of the competition was set to get underway in Fort Worth, Texas.

"With Paris (Olympics) as my ultimate focus, it's best for me to prioritise recovery and resting my shoulder this weekend.

"Both the medical team and I are confident this is the right decision to ensure I’m at full strength for Trials," added Jones, who narrowly missed making the U.S. squad for the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021.

"I'm excited to support my fellow athletes and team mates this weekend. I am submitting a petition to USAG (USA Gymnastics) for Olympic Trials and hope to have the opportunity to compete in Minneapolis!"

Jones' announcement comes two days after three-times Olympic gold medallist Gabby Douglas withdrew from the championships with an ankle injury, ending her comeback bid to qualify for the Paris Games, which start on July 26.

The women's competition at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships begins later on Friday with the winners crowned on Sunday.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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