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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK

May quits after medals row

May: "I don't want to seem a bad sport but I can't go on"

Champion long jumper Fiona May has decided to retire after controversially finishing second in the world championships final in Seville.

Seville 99
British-born May who now competes for Italy, was pushed into second place by home favourite Niurka Montalvo, of Spain, although her final effort looked like a no-jump.

May made her decision after an appeal by the Italian team was rejected by the International Amateur Athletic Federation jury despite video evidence which appeared to back her case.

[ image: Montalvo: Won gold when appeal rejected]
Montalvo: Won gold when appeal rejected
"She's had enough," said her husband and coach Gianni Iapichino. "That's the end."

A tearful May said: "I saw it was a foul. I don't want to sound unsportsmanlike but everybody saw it. I can't go on like this."

May, who says she is "90% certain" she will retire at the end of the season, said she felt robbed for a second time.

At the 1997 World Championships in Athens, Greece, her final leap was ruled a foul, leaving her with the bronze.

"Twice in two years. It's not possible.

"One time, maybe you can understand. But the second time it's just too hard to take. I've worked hard, I've made a lot of sacrifices. And this is the reward?"

May, who turns 30 this year, formerly competed for Britain and was a world junior champion in 1988.

She has competed for Italy since 1994 and became Italy's first women's world champion in any event at the 1995 Gothenburg championships.

Her husband, who was born in the United States, is a former Italian pole vault record holder.

Meanwhile Britain continue the hunt for for their first gold medal of the championships.

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