Britain's best bet for gold at the World Indoor Championships, James Dasaolu, has been forced to pull out with a hamstring injury.
Dasaolu appeared to be in the form of his life but limped over the line in the final of the 60 metres at the Sainsbury's Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham at the weekend clutching his left leg, and has now ended his indoor season early.
British Athletics' performance director, Neil Black, hinted that the 26-year-old had been in the shape to break Dwain Chambers' British 60-metre record of 6.42sec at the championships in Sopot, Poland, from 7 March. But Black was adamant there was no concern over the frailty of Dasaolu, whose career has been littered by injuries.
It is a British team already missing its three Olympic champions in the pregnant Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, who is preparing for the London Marathon, and Greg Rutherford, who has decided to miss the indoors to avoid further hamstring injuries.
Britain's ambitions have been further dented by the news that Katarina Johnson-Thompson has not been invited by the International Association of Athletics Federations to compete in the eight-woman field in the pentathlon after pulling out of her sole qualifier in the Netherlands at the weekend with illness, thereby denying Britain another chance of a medal.
Johnson-Thompson, however, will travel with the British team to compete in the long jump and is believed to be on reserve if any of the eight pentathletes pull out.
With Dasaolu out injured, Britain's 60m ambitions will be represented by Dwain Chambers and Richard Kilty. "We are not foolish enough to hang medals around their necks... but we certainly can't count them out," Black said.
But clearly neither was in the form of Dasaolu, who has won his three indoor finals this year against world-class opposition. Black added: "James is in great shape. I think it was quite clear he was on target to run fast – low 6.4 seconds were on the cards. It's a minor problem but it's just not worth taking the risk."
Dasaolu's focus is now on the outdoors, notably the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games, and he has continued with light training despite the tear.
Arguably Britain's best individual for medals come in the pole vault, with Holly Bleasdale and Luke Cutts both ranked second in the world this year, while Laura Muir, who is studying to become a vet, is ranked No 1 globally over 800m indoors after her blistering run in Birmingham, but is inexperienced at major championships.