Bereaved Heffernans forced out of Daegu Championships

Robert Heffernan
Robert Heffernan was fourth in both the 20K and 50K walks at last year's European Championships

Irish walker Robert Heffernan and his wife Marian have withdrawn from the World Championships in Daegu after the sudden death of the Cork man's mother.

Heffernan would have been a medal prospect in the 50K walk after finishing fourth in last year's European Championships in Barcelona.

The Togher club-man also finished fourth in last year's 20K event at the European Championships.

His wife Marian was scheduled to compete in the 4x400m in South Korea.

Both athletes are now on their way home from Daegu.

"All of the team members and Athletics Ireland give their heart-filled condolences to both families of Robert and Marian for their loss," said an Athletics Ireland statement.

Walker Heffernan's best World Championships performance was a sixth place in the 20K in Osaka in 2007.