Olympic medallist and hammer thrower Sophie Hitchon has announced her retirement.
Hitchon became the UK record holder aged just 19 in 2011 and won bronze at Rio 2016.
At 74.54m, the Blackburn athlete’s personal best and medal-winning throw from five years ago is more than five metres further than any other British woman in history.
The 29-year-old hasn’t competed since the European Team Championships Super League in August 2019.
In a statement issued by British Athletics, the former world junior champion said: “It has not been a decision I have taken lightly, but I am satisfied it’s right for me at this time and I’m leaving the sport on the right terms.”
Hitchon also competed at the London 2012 Olympics aged 21, as well as three World Athletics Championships, and two Commonwealth Games, winning bronze in Glasgow in 2014.
“I’m really happy with what I have achieved in my event,” she added. “I’ve done what no British woman has ever done before in Hammer throwing and I’ve competed at and won medals at the highest level. It’s a sad day in some ways but also a happy day as I know I’ve made the right decision.”
The Burnley-born thrower, who was coached by Sweden’s Tore Gustafsson, won seven UK titles between 2011 and 2018, with Jess Mayho taking victory in her absence in the last two seasons.