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Olympic gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre retires from sailing aged 28

Olympic gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre retires from sailing aged 28
© Reuters
British sailor Eilidh McIntyre, who won gold in the women's 470 race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, retires from sailing at the age of 28.

Tokyo 2020 sailing champion Eilidh McIntyre has announced her retirement from the sport after losing "belief" of winning another medal for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

The 28-year-old became Olympic champion in the women's 470 event alongside Hannah Mills in Tokyo and also won gold at the 470 World Championships in Enoshima in 2019.

McIntyre was poised to compete with Martin Wrigley in the mixed-gender Paris event next year, but speaking to BBC South Today, she 'heartbreakingly' admitted that she was no longer at the required level to push for further success.

"I think this decision has been building for a long time. It is really hard because I am giving up on a dream," McIntyre said. "I knew if I was going to another Olympics it would be to challenge for another medal - but I've lost belief and I've lost my heart to go again.

"I know there is potential there with Martin but I just don't think within the timeframe of the next Olympics we are going to get to be where we need to be. You can't carry on in this world without belief in what you're doing and as soon as I didn't believe any more I knew I had to step away.

"It's heartbreaking having to accept that you're not at the level you want to be. Without a doubt I would love to go to the next Olympics and win another medal, but I think there is an element of realism and I just can't continue to push forward."

McIntyre also won two silvers and two bronze medals at the 470 European Championships, most recently placing second at the 2021 event, and she was awarded an MBE in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to sailing.

The 28-year-old's Tokyo partner Mills retired from the sport at the end of 2021, as did fellow Olympic sailing champions Giles Scott and Stuart Bithell.

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Hannah Mills pictured at the Tokyo Olympics on August 4, 2021
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