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Strictly Come Dancing 2021: AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington forced to withdraw from final after devastating foot injury

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington have been forced to withdraw from the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 final after the TV presenter sustained a crushing foot injury earlier this week.

In a statement, the BBC series said: ‘Sadly due to injury AJ and Kai have had to withdraw from #Strictly and won’t compete in tomorrow’s final.

‘We want to thank them for 13 incredible weeks on the show and the pure joy they brought to the dance floor every week.’

The decision was made after consulting with medical professionals, as AJ suffered a torn ligament in her right ankle during training this week.

The competitor said she was ‘deeply upset’ to drop out of the show, saying it had been an ‘incredible honour’ to be a part of Strictly.

‘Learning to dance over the last 13 weeks has been an incredible honour and to do it alongside someone as special, patient and devoted as Kai is something I’ll treasure forever,’ she said.

AJ and Kai were frontrunners for the Glitterball Trophy (Picture: BBC/Guy Levy)

‘Thank you to the Strictly family for the experience, the medical team for trying to get me back on my feet and mostly, to everyone at home for watching and supporting.

‘You’ve made this experience one to remember. Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream and I’m glad it came true. Good luck to my partners in dance, John & Johannes and Rose and Giovanni. I will be cheering you on (on one leg!).’

Kai similarly shared how ‘honoured’ he felt to have AJ as a partner.

‘I’ve been absolutely honoured to get to dance with the incredible AJ Odudu for the last few months and although neither of us wanted our journey to end this way, AJ’s health and safety are by far the most important things,’ the professional dancer said.

‘I want to thank AJ for being the absolute best partner I could ever have asked for in my first year on the show and I will always treasure the memories of dancing in the Strictly ballroom with her.’

Kai dubbed AJ a ‘friend for life’ (Picture: BBC/Guy Levy)

Kai stated that he and AJ will be ‘friends for life’, adding that he will be ‘there for her through her recovery in whatever way I can’.

‘I want to wish good luck to John & Johannes and Rose & Giovanni for the Final. And finally the biggest thank you to everyone who voted for us throughout the series, your support has been unforgettable,’ he added.

Sarah James, executive producer of Strictly, said that AJ is ‘one of the most brilliant Strictly finalists we’ve ever had’.

Finalists Rose and Giovanni are hoping to win the Glitterball Trophy (Picture: Guy Levy/BBC)
Johannes and John will do their best to take home the victory (Picture: BBC/Guy Levy)

‘We cannot thank her enough for fully embracing the experience and being a total delight both on and off the dance floor,’ she said.

‘AJ and Kai are a wonderful partnership and have performed some unforgettable routines over the last few months.’

Sarah emphasised that her ‘health and wellbeing come first’, wishing her a ‘speedy recovery’ from everyone working on the production.

In a post shared on Instagram, AJ outlined all of the medical treatments she has received for her injury, explaining that she’s had ultrasounds, MRI scans, X-rays, two incisions to drain the inflammation around her ankle and local anaesthetic injected into her foot.

‘I have been strapped up to an ice compression machine for days. I’ve done all I can possibly do to get back on my feet for the @bbcstrictly Final, I even asked the docs if I could perform in a medical moonboot! But the fact is, I can’t stand on my feet let alone dance because I’ve torn my spring ligament,’ she wrote.

AJ expressed her admiration for Kai, saying that he was ready to be her ‘human crutch on the dancefloor’ during the final.

‘I want to say a huge thank you to the Strictly family for the experience, the medical team for trying to get me back on my feet and mostly, to everyone at home watching and supporting,’ she wrote in the caption.

‘You’ve made this experience one to remember and I couldn’t be more grateful for your well wishes. Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream of mine and I’m glad it came true.’

Following AJ’s unfortunate departure, Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice will go up against John Whaite and Johannes Radebe in the final.

Both couples will perform three dances – a previous routine of their choice, one selected by the judges and their showdance.

The Strictly Come Dancing final airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One.

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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