Swimming-World champion and record holder Meilutyte has foot surgery

FILE PHOTO: Swimming - World Aquatics Championships - Aspire Dome, Doha, Qatar - February 18, 2024 Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte celebrates after winning the final of the women's 50m breaststroke REUTERS/Marko Djurica/File Photo

(Reuters) - Lithuania's 2012 Olympic breaststroke gold medallist and Paris 2024 hopeful Ruta Meilutyte has had foot surgery and is expected to resume training in early April, her country's swimming federation said.

Meilutyte is the world record holder and reigning world champion in 50 metres breaststroke, which is not held at the Olympics, and won 100m gold at London 2012 as a 15-year-old.

She was 100m world champion in 2023 but failed to reach the semi-finals at last month's world championships in Doha.

The federation said on their website that Meilutyte had undergone surgery in Kaunas after returning from Qatar.

"Ruta's foot has been hurting for several months during heavy physical exertion. After carrying out the tests, we found damage to the first metatarsal bone of the left foot," it quoted orthopaedic surgeon Gintautas Pocius as saying.

"Since the operation is a minimally invasive arthroscopy, we expect a quick rehabilitation process."

The federation said Meilutyte would have to wear a special brace for three weeks.

"The procedure will not disrupt the normal preparation plan for the Paris Olympics. In any case, a two to three week rest is planned after the world championships in Doha," it added.

The Paris Olympics open on July 26.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris)

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