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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 21:00 GMT
Tweddle targets 2009 retirement
Beth Tweddle
Tweddle created history with her World Championship gold
Britain's leading gymnast Beth Tweddle has said she will almost certainly bow out of the sport after the 2009 World Championships in London.

Tweddle, who won world gold in Denmark in October, was third in the voting for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

"We've got the Olympics in 2008 and the World Championships in London in 2009," said the 21-year-old from Cheshire.

"If I go to 2008 and I am still happy, then to compete at home the following year would be a great place to retire."

Tweddle recovered from missing the Commonwealth Games in March with an ankle injury to win European gold on the uneven bars.

She repeated the feat in the Worlds to become the first Briton to win gold at the event.

"The only other thing that would be equal to this year would be an Olympic gold - or some sort of Olympic medal in 2008," she said.

The Commonwealth Games was the hardest injury I've come back from

Beth Tweddle

"If I continue to develop and things go well, then hopefully that can happen.

"But two years is a long time for a gymnast. I am just taking every step as it comes. If I stay injury-free and still love the sport, hopefully I'll be there in 2008.

Tweddle admitted that she considered retirement after being ruled out of the Commonwealth Games.

"I remember watching the 1992 Olympics with Sally Gunnell, Colin Jackson and Linford Christie and more recently Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe," she said.

"I've seen the injuries those sort of top people have gone through and how they have coped, came back and were successful.

"I've had a lot of injuries myself but just knowing that they've managed to fight back has been inspirational. It left me thinking 'if they can do it, so can I.'

"The Commonwealth Games was the hardest injury I've come back from just because it was so painful.

"I knew I could have done well and I was ready to pack it all in. But by the next morning those thoughts had gone, I had got my head sorted out and I supported the team."

Phillips wins top BBC Sport award
10 Dec 06 |  Sport Homepage
Super Tweddle wins landmark gold
20 Oct 06 |  Gymnastics


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