Lancashire’s world champion freestyle footballer Liv Cooke has made the heartbreaking decision not to defend her title because of injury.
The Leyland teenager was due to compete in the freestyle world championships in Tokyo later this month.
But she has had to withdraw from the contest after suffering a stress fracture in her left foot during intensive training.
Said Liv, aged 18 : “I’m gutted – it’s heartbreaking when you have been working for something so hard for so long and you can already see yourself as the double champ.”
Liv said she was disappointed that she couldn’t showcase all the tricks she had learned.
Stupidly, I disregarded it and continued training.
But she refused to be down and this week posted a Tweet captioned “still smiling, still the champ”.
Globetrotting Liv said she was concentrating on her sports business and would be back stronger than ever.
She told the Post: “I reached the highest level I’ve ever been at when I started to feel discomfort in my foot.
“Stupidly, I disregarded it and continued training.
“It got worse and worse but I wanted to compete so much I was in denial. It reached the stage where I couldn’t walk properly and that’s when I knew.”
Liv added: “Everything happens for a reason. I’m sure somewhere down the line I will find there is a reason for this and why it had to happen.
“For now it’s all about recovery”.
And Liv revealed she would still be in Tokyo for the championships .
Liv is now in demand all over the world and has appeared in several TV adverts.
She regularly updates her army of social media followers with regular pictures and video from exotic locations all around the world.
Promising footballer Liv signed for both Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers as a youngster but after a bad injury, chose freestyling over traditional football.
She is now actively championing women’s freestylers through her agency Girl Power, an organisation she established in 2016.
She recently moved to London for a trial period to further her career.
Liv is now set to launch a new business – Boldr, which is described as “Lifestyle X Sports Innovation”.