The 2011 European indoor 800m champion announced her decision to retire at the European Championships in Amsterdam
Jenny Meadows announced her decision to retire from competitive athletics after running in the 800m semi-finals at the European Championships in Amsterdam on Thursday (July 7).
The 35-year-old suffered a hamstring injury in the heats but continued to compete, having European final and Rio Olympic hopes in mind, but her sixth place finish in the semi-finals was not enough to see her progress.
“It’s not the way I wanted to finish my career,” said the 2011 European indoor 800m gold medallist. “I was really nervous before that race because I thought I could qualify for the final. It shows that I still wanted it.
“I took a knock and my hamstring kind of twisted, that’s the best way to describe it, and I thought ‘oh no’ and I couldn’t drive off it then.
“The last 50m was like a victory lap. There was nothing I could do, I was thinking a lot.”
The Wigan Harrier, who clocked 2:03.13 in her semi-final after running 2:03.10 to win her heat, added: “In eight seconds of running I thought strangely this is it.
“I did enjoy it but at the same time I thought, ‘this is the end’, but at the end of the day there’s nothing more I could have done.”
Meadows joined her local athletics club aged seven and took part in Sportshall athletics as an under-11 before winning the English Schools junior girls 800m in 1995. She first represented GB in 2000 and went on to compete at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. As well as her 2011 European indoor 800m gold, Meadows claimed world bronze in 2009 and world indoor silver in 2010. She missed London 2012 through injury and had been hoping to compete at the Rio Games.
Her PB of 1:57.93 from 2009 places her fourth on the UK all-time list.
Speaking with the BBC, Meadows added that she would now like to get more involved in anti-doping campaigns.
“My name is synonymous with anti-doping from some of the experiences I’ve had,” said Meadows, who initially placed second in the 2011 European indoor final but was promoted to gold following the subsequent disqualification of Russia’s Yevgeniya Zinurova for doping offences.
“I’d love to get involved. I want to create a new message and drive the future of clean sport in Europe and the world.”
Fans and fellow athletes took to Twitter to send messages to Meadows following her announcement.
“A great competitor and wonderful lady,” wrote Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth long jump champion Greg Rutherford. “The team’s going to miss you @JennyMeadows800 happy retirement x.”
British pole vault record-holder Holly Bradshaw wrote: “You have been such an inspiration to me growing up in athletics! I will miss you being on teams so much – true superstar.”