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Olympic gold medallist Tim Brabants retires from Canoe Sprint

15th April 2013

Tim Brabants MBE, Great Britain’s mostsuccessful Olympic canoeist and one of the world’s most accomplished Men’s K1sprint kayakers, announced his retirement from the sport today (Monday 15April).

The Surrey born 36 year old is a fourtimes Olympic Games competitor.   During the 2008 Beijing Games hemade history by winning Britain’s first Olympic gold medal in canoeing, with aconvincing win in the K1 1000m where he led from start to finish. 

At the Beijing Games he also won bronzein the K1 500m event, adding to the bronze medal he had won previously at the2000 Sydney Games in the K1 1000m.  He is a multiple World and EuropeanChampion and, in 2009, was awarded an MBE for his achievements in canoeing.

“This has been an incredibly difficultdecision to make, but reluctantly I realise I have reached the point where Ineed to retire from the sport,” said Brabants.

“It has become more obvious to me overthe last few months that as much as I love the sport and would love to beOlympic and World Champion again, I’ve reached the point where I’m unlikely toimprove or achieve the same results that I once achieved.”

Brabants competed in this weekend’s GBselection events at Nottingham and reached the selection criteria, making himeligible to compete internationally for Great Britain in 2013.  Yet hefelt that continuing to compete this season, with the likelihood he would notregain his best form, would be unfair on both his family and fellow athletes.

“As a competitive athlete with acompetitive brain I cannot make this decision easily and I know lots ofathletes have had to go through this,” he continued.

“It is a difficult decision and it is notbased on this weekend, because I have done well enough to be selected to raceinternationally from my results this weekend.

“But it wouldn’t be right to just keepcompeting for the sake of competing and, when you’re not getting your bestresults, it wouldn’t be fair on my family or on the other athletes in the sportthat are trying to come through.”

Brabants graduated as a doctor from theUniversity of Nottingham in 2002, but put his medical career on hold toconcentrate on competing in last summer’s London Olympic Games. Since lastautumn he has been based in Cape Town with his South African born wife andchildren, a two year old daughter and five month old son. 

He now plans to resume his medical careerwith the likelihood of specialising in emergency medicine.  He is keepinghis options open about the possibility of returning to Britain and is keen tostay involved with the sport.

“Now is the time to step back, get backinto my medical career and see where the next few months take me,” he added.

“I would like to stay involved in thesport in some way and my level of involvement will become more apparent overthe next six months to a year.”

Eric Farrell, Brabants coach for the past20 years, sees him as a pioneer of the sport of Sprint Canoeing in Britain andsaid:  “Tim has reached the pinnacle of the sport and he is by far themost successful canoeist we have ever had in Britain.

“I am highly fortunate to have beeninvolved with an athlete of Tim’s calibre right through his career and it hasbeen great to make the whole journey with him.  He has been an absolutepleasure to work with.”

Paying tribute to Brabants and his manyachievements, John Anderson MBE, GB Canoeing Performance Director said: “Tim Brabants has been a true champion and a huge inspiration for athletes incanoeing in the UK.

“When he won the first ever Olympic medalfor GB in Sprint Canoeing at Sydney in 2000 he led the way for other athletesin our sport. 

“He continued throughout his career towin Olympic, World and European gold medals, and is the most successful Olympicathlete that our sport has ever seen.  We wish Tim and his family everysuccess and happiness for the future.”

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