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Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 14:45 UK

Olympian Winckless quits rowing

Sarah Winckless
Sarah Winckless enjoys Olympic success in 2004

Double world champion and Olympic medallist Sarah Winckless has announced her retirement from rowing.

Winckless, 35, won back-to-back quadruple scull world titles and double scull bronze at the 2004 Olympics.

The Reading-born rower said: "I'm proud of what I have achieved but I know in my heart that now is the time to go."

David Tanner, GB Rowing performance director, said: "Sarah has played a huge part in the emergence of GB women's rowing as a world force."

On Wednesday, GB Rowing will announce their crews for the first World Cup regatta of the season, in Barcelona in May.

And those crews will probably stay together through the season, to the World Championships in Poland in August.

Winckless, who has to undergo regular tests after inheriting Huntington's Disease, a disorder that gradually affects the central nervous system, began rowing at Cambridge University.

She made her Great Britain senior debut in 1998 and in 2004 won bronze in the double scull at the Athens Olympics with Elise Laverick.

BBC Sport's Martin Gough

Winckless went on to win world championships in 2005 and 2006 as part of the quadruple sculls crew that also featured fellow Olympic medallist Katherine Grainger.

But despite overcoming a knee injury that kept her out of the 2007 season and helping GB to fifth place in the eights final at the Beijing Olympics, she has resisted the continuing until London 2012.

She added: "Staying on for the London Games would have been a big attraction, but I hope to be able to stay in the sport and contribute in other ways."

Marketing consultant Winckless, who has worked part-time throughout her rowing career, was an athletes' representative and part of the committee that designed the 2008 Olympic kit to make it more user-friendly.

see also
Grainger heads GB Olympic rowers
26 Jun 08 |  Rowing
Quartet earn Britain second gold
04 Sep 05 |  Rowing
Brit duo take sculls bronze
21 Aug 04 |  Rowing
GB women claim gold
29 May 04 |  Other sport...
Rowing on the BBC
07 May 08 |  Rowing
Find out where to start rowing
19 Oct 05 |  Rowing

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