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Page last updated at 07:40 GMT, Wednesday, 29 June 2011 08:40 UK

Stoke-on-Trent sprinter Alex Nelson quits athletics

Alex Nelson
Alex Nelson was part of Team GB for the Beijing Olympics in 2008

Sprinter Alex Nelson has retired from athletics at the age of 23, admitting that a number of injuries has taken away his enjoyment of the sport.

Nelson, from Stoke-on-Trent, was part of the Team GB squad that travelled to the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

"All the injuries had an effect, but over time I started to realise that it wasn't what I wanted to be doing with my time," he told BBC Radio Stoke.

"When it came down to it, I was losing the desire that you need to have."

He added: "I wasn't getting the happiness and the satisfaction from it. It started to feel a bit more like a chore at the end, as opposed to something that I was enjoying and thrilled by."

Nelson was once one of the most promising young talents in British athletics, having won bronze in the 200m at the World Junior Championships in 2006 and gold in the same event at the European Junior Championships a year later.

A second-place finish in the Olympic trials in 2008 landed Nelson a place in the team for Beijing, but he was unable to compete in the first round of the 200m because of injury.

More injury problems and a loss of funding prevented him from appearing at another major championships.

Nelson is now working as a car salesman, but he does not regret his decision to turn his back on athletics, even with the London Olympics a little over a year away.

"I know if I was sitting on the other side of the fence, I'd be thinking 'what are you doing?'" said Nelson, whose sister Ashlee is also a sprinter for Team GB.

"I just wasn't in the right frame of mind every day.

"The injuries were a big factor but it was just the motivation to want to keep getting better and doing what I needed to be doing that deserted me.

"It just wasn't what I wanted to be doing any more. I'm at peace with myself and with the decision.

"I'm far happier getting up in the morning, happier when I get home and I'm happy to watch Ashlee and support her in whatever way I can do. Life seems a lot better now."


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