Double world sprint champion Dafne Schippers has announced her retirement at the age of 31, describing her career as “a journey without regret”.
Schippers, from Utrecht, won the 200m title at the world athletics championships in Beijing in 2015 and successfully defended it in London two years later.
In between she won Olympic silver in Rio behind her arch-rival, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica. Schippers also won medals over the 100m: a silver in Beijing and a bronze in London.
In a post on the social media network Instagram, she wrote: “Today, I have decided to take my life off track to pursue and embrace whatever comes next, but not without saying a massive thank you for all the endless support. It has been a journey without regret.”
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Bart Bennema, who coached Schippers until 2016 and again from 2018 as she tried to return to top form after struggling with a string of injuries. A broken vertebra suffered in training last year proved the final straw.
“I know she did everything and went to extremes to continue her career. It’s a shame that she couldn’t manage and wish it could have been a different kind of farewell, but I’m glad for her that she’s been able to make the decision,” he said.
“I’m very proud of what I achieved with her. Sometimes I think we could have done some things differently, but she can look back at a fantastic career.”
Schippers began her career as a heptathlete, winning a bronze medal in the multi-discipline event at the world championships in Moscow in 2013 when she was just 21.
Her outstanding sprint times prompted her to switch events permanently in 2014, when she won gold at the 100m and 200m at the European Championships in Zürich.
Two years later, in Amsterdam, she retained the 100m title and added another gold medal in the sprint relay.
Her winning time of 21.63 seconds for the 200m in Beijing remains a European record.
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