Shattered Frankie Gavin flew home to Birmingham with his Olympic dream in tatters as British amateur boxing chiefs promised to launch a major inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his failure to make the weight.
Great Britain head coach Terry Edwards insisted he took the agonising decision to pull out lightweight gold medal favourite Gavin on the eve of the Beijing draw because of serious fears for the Yardley fighter's health.
But the timing of the withdrawal is bound to be questioned with Gavin's battle to make the weight having been well documented long before he became Britain's first world amateur champion in Chicago in November.
Amateur Boxing Association chief executive Paul King said: "ABAE will launch an internal investigation into the circumstances leading up to this withdrawal, which is a massive blow to our gold medal hopes, and to our essential UK Sport and lottery funding.
"I am very disappointed on behalf of the ABA of England, who no longer have direct international contact with Frankie as he now boxes under the GB programme and the guidance of head coach Terry Edwards."
Edwards defended the timing of his decision, insisting Gavin had to be given every chance to hit the target until it became evident that even if he had tipped the scales at 60kg it could prove detrimental to his health.
Edwards said: "Frankie has been struggling at the weight all year but we were confident he would get it down. He struggled to make the weight at the world championships in November but went on to make history.
"It was obvious to me that Frankie was empty and I had the thankless task of telling him it was over. I felt if I pushed it any further there would have been a serious health risk.
"It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make in boxing. But Frankie was completely dried out. It got to the stage where even if he had somehow managed to make weight in time, it was going to be detrimental.
"I can categorically deny there is anything mysterious or unusual about the circumstances surrounding Frankie's withdrawal. There is bound to be speculation but the simple fact is that these things happen in boxing.
"He was hitting all the targets and with the motivation of the Olympics we really thought he was going to make it. All the indications were he was doing it right but in boxing it's that last little bit that takes its toll.
"Frankie has given every opportunity and he gave me 110 per cent. I have the highest respect for Frankie and I feel for him because he is obviously bitterly disappointed that he's not going to the Olympic Games."
It became clear in recent weeks that all was not well with Gavin who was late returning to the team's training camp in Sheffield last month, and this week hit out at the lack of help provided by the ABA.
With professional promoters also signalling their serious intent to sign him, there were also suggestions that Gavin had been persuaded not to risk fighting weight-drained and instead turn professional with his world title win untainted.
But it is almost inconceivable that Gavin would have given up on his lifetime goal so late to turn over when so many of those promoters had already indicated they wanted to sign him irrespective of his Olympic experience.
And Edwards insists he has not given up hope that with the right financial package, Gavin might yet be persuaded to remain amateur and finally fulfil his Olympic dream in London in four years' time.
Edwards added: "At this present stage Frankie's obviously very prone to the sharks who are swimming around him and I told him to take stock of the situation and not do anything he might regret.
"I know Frankie's great desire was to come to Beijing and win an Olympic medal. He told me this morning that ambition to win an Olympic medal is still there. I hope he will achieve it in London in 2012."
Edwards said the news had come as a shock to the rest of the close-knit team who had left Gavin behind to head to Beijing two days ago, and to whom Edwards broke the news this morning.
Gavin's Hall Green amateur coach Tommy Chaney and nutritional adviser Kerry Kayes also expressed their surprise and disappointment, with Kayes maintaining Gavin had been on the weight when he left for Macau last week.
But Edwards was quick to counter suggestions that the estimated £60,000 net package given to Gavin by a combination of UK Sport and lottery funding had proved public money badly spent.
"In my opinion Frankie has been tremendous value for money," added Edwards. "He's won the Commonwealth Games and the World Championship. And I believe he can do it all again for Great Britain."