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On This Day in 2013: Sarah Stevenson announces her retirement from taekwondo

Two-time taekwondo world champion Sarah Stevenson (in red) announced her retirement on April 23 2013 (Steve Parsons/PA)
Two-time taekwondo world champion Sarah Stevenson (in red) announced her retirement on April 23 2013 (Steve Parsons/PA)

Two-time taekwondo world champion Sarah Stevenson announced her retirement on this day in 2013.

The announcement brought to an end a glittering career that saw her win two gold medals at the World Championships and four at the European Championships.

She also claimed Britain’s first ever Olympic medal in taekwondo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but was at the centre of controversy after appealing against a contentious ruling during her quarter-final loss to China’s Chen Zhong.

The appeal was successful meaning Stevenson was awarded a spot in the semi-finals and she went on to take bronze.

Stevenson’s first taekwondo world title came in 2001, and she earned her second a decade later in emotional circumstances as both her parents were critically ill.

Her parents died later that year and her career could have been derailed after suffering a serious knee injury, but she recovered in time to compete in her fourth Olympics at London 2012.

She failed to progress beyond the first round and, having not fought since then, reached the decision to retire and take up a role as a high-performance coach with GB Taekwondo.

London Olympic Games – Day 14
Sarah Stevenson, in red, won two world titles during her career (Steve Parsons/PA)

Stevenson, then aged 30, said: “It has been a hard decision and it has been a long process but I think in just stepping away from the sport and having a break, waiting to seeing if I’m going to miss it or not – I realised I didn’t miss it.

“I didn’t feel in my heart that I wanted to compete again.

“I don’t really do anything half-hearted and I think it would be a mistake for me to continue if my heart isn’t in it.

“But I have no regrets and it feels good to say that. I am 100 per cent happy with my decision.”