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.”
Well it's been a long time since I updated my site and a lot has happened in that time.
London 2012 was even more of an amazing experience than I ever imagined. The organisation was exceptional and the home crowds proved to make this Olympics memorable for everyone involved. Conditions at Dorney lake were pretty kind to us although the usual cross/head wind was blowing to some degree. There was some fantastic racing in front of capacity crowds with an incredible atmosphere. Nelo made me an awesome white Vanquish 4 to race with the Team GB lion on both sides of the front and Braca made me a super light super stiff pair of Braca II paddles, also in white. I had lane 1 for every race which was right along the grandstand so the noise was immense! I made the A final, my fourth consecutive Olympic 1000m final and fifth overall Olympic final. I don't feel I raced to my full potential however, finishing 8th. The whole experience was really rewarding, and I was very proud to be representing Team GB at a home Olympic Games.
At the end of August I moved out to Cape Town with my wife and daughter to spend most of the winter here, training as usual. At the end of October our son was born and he has been a great addition to the family. Feel very lucky to come home from training and be greeted by smiles and happiness as well as the occasional dirty nappy!
So, the plan now is to keep training in preparation for the April selection regatta in Nottingham followed by World Cup, Euro and World Champs. Really looking forward to the race season starting again soon.
We have had our official team announcement now for the athletes chosen to represent Team GB in the London 2012 Olympic Games. It was a fantastic morning sharing the excitement with 8 other GB athletes, 7 of them for whom this will be their first ever Games. For all of us it will be our first and only home Games! It was a very proud moment to put on the Team GB tracksuit for the first time and stand on the jetty at Dorney lake for photos with the other selected paddlers. I felt as excited as I did way back in 2000 when I was selected for my first Olympic Games in Sydney! Despite this, we have not sat back at all in terms of training volume and effort. Our focus all year has been on competing well in August and so we haven't had to peak too much earlier in the year for the World Cup events thankfully.
This weekend I will be competing in Zagreb at the European Championships. Really looking forward to racing in Croatia, the water is turquoise blue and the weather is set to be hot! Whilst it would be nice to get a good result there, I am more focussed on ensuring I don't ease back off the high training work load yet!
And finally, congratulations to Albert Woods who has been awarded an OBE in the Queens birthday honours. Albert has worked hard for many years at a high level in both canoeing and the Olympic movement. His efforts have been justly rewarded!