Eilidh Doyle it was not an “easy decision, but it was the right one” after choosing to retire aged 34 as Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete.
The 400m specialist over flat and hurdles last competed in March 2019, when she helped Great Britain win silver in the 4x400m relay at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
That was shortly before she found out she was pregnant, and Doyle gave birth to a son, Campbell, in early 2020.
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Doyle hangs up her spikes having won Olympic 4x400m relay bronze at Rio 2016, two silvers and a bronze in the same event at the World Championships, plus two individual gold medals at the European Championships - in the 400m at Zurich 2014 and 400m hurdles at Amsterdam 2016.
Competing for Scotland, she was also the poster girl of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, where she came away with silver in the hurdles, an achievement she also landed in 2010 and 2018.
Doyle also has two World Indoor Championship medals, and four at the European Indoors.
“I remember so clearly being nine years old and joining Pitreavie Athletics Club as a bit of fun,” she said.
“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined where the sport would take me over the next 25 years. Not all of it has been easy but my love for athletics has always been constant and still remains so to this day.
“Athletics has all my heart, focus and love but today I announce my retirement as a competitive athlete.
I take with me so many amazing memories but, most importantly, I step away happy in the knowledge that this is the right time for me to go. I’m not saying it was an easy decision to make, but it was the right one and I am grateful I got to choose when it happened.
“The sport has brought me so much more than just medals. I have made lifelong friends, experienced incredible atmospheres, made history and even met my husband because of it.
“Now we have our wee boy, Campbell, and so much more to look forward to as a family. I do find it fitting however that my last international competition was winning a silver medal in front of a home crowd in Glasgow. Athletics will always hold a special place in my heart and now I get to enjoy it from the other side as a fan.”
Olympic head coach Christian Malcolm is keen not to lose Doyle from the sport, having served as her team-mate in the latter part of his sprint career.
“Eilidh has been one of the UK’s leading athletes in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay for a number of years, and her service to the sport has been outstanding,” he said.
Although it would have been good to see Eilidh compete at the Tokyo Olympics, I understand her decision and I am pleased she has made a decision that she and her family are happy with.
"Eilidh has achieved so much in the sport and has won medals across the board for the British team. She has also been a fantastic role model for athletes on the team, particularly in the relay set-up, and it is no surprise we have been so successful in that event in recent years with her presence in the squad.
“I wish Eilidh all the best in retirement, and an exciting and healthy next adventure in her life. She will always be part of the British Athletics family and would always be welcome back to get involved in any capacity in the future.”
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