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Strictly Come Dancing: AJ Odudu pulls out of Saturday night’s final

·3-min read
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  • AJ Odudu
    British television presenter
  • Kai Widdrington
    British dancer

AJ Odudu and partner Kai Widdrington have pulled out of the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday night after she tore a ligament in her right ankle.

The TV presenter, 33, was one of the favourites to win the coveted Glitterball trophy in the live final of the BBC show.

On Monday, Odudu and pro dance partner Widdrington were rehearsing one of their three routines for the final, but their session was cut short after the star became injured.

After consulting medical professionals she had to pull out of competing in the final.

Kai Widdrington and AJ Odudu during a live show for BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing 2021 (PA)
Kai Widdrington and AJ Odudu during a live show for BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing 2021 (PA)

The star said in a statement: "I'm deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle.

"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.

"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!)."

Odudu and Widdrington had been due to compete in the final against soap star Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice and baker John Whaite and partner Johannes Radebe for the glitterball trophy.

Widdrington said: "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.

"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.

"I know we will be friends for life and I will be there for her through her recovery in whatever way I can.

 (PA)
(PA)

"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."

Following her injury Odudu missed training on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, she confirmed reports of her injury with an emotional appearance on It Takes Two.

Visibly upset, she told host Janette Manrara that she had no idea what happened, as the pain came on “so quickly” which prompted her to vomit.

“I’m upset because I’ve suffered an injury, I don’t know when it happened but essentially I’ve got issues with my joint, I’ve suffered some traumatic injury to my ligaments, there’s a lot of inflammation,” she explained.

The pair will appear on It Takes Two on Friday evening.

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

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