Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

TALKING EUROPE

Louis Michel: 'Europe is not guilty' of Africa's failings

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Italy's Europe minister: 'Bold measures' needed to dismantle human trafficking

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Blur, Martin Gore and Moriarty

Read more

FOCUS

France steps up cyber defence in wake of attacks

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

End of an era as Volkswagen's Piech resigns

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Police beat kids in Guinea, and militias dynamite homes in Iraq

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Nepal vows not to be crippled by deadly quake

Read more

ENCORE!

Armenia, 100 years on

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Togo: Will President Faure Gnassingbe win a third 5-year term?

Read more

Belgium's sole Olympic gold medallist calls it a day

Latest update : 2008-12-05

Tia Hellebaut, Belgium's only gold medallist at the Beijing Olympics, shocked her country by announcing her retirement from athletics. The 30-year-old high jump champion said she was expecting a baby.

AFP - Belgium was left lamenting the loss of yet another top athlete Friday after reigning Olympic high jump champion Tia Hellebaut announced her retirement from the sport.
  
Hellebaut, Belgium's only gold medal winner in Beijing, said she and her partner Wim Vandeven, who is also her coach, came to the decision because they are expecting a baby. The 30-year-old is three months pregnant.
  
The Belgian media believed Hellebaut would be outlining her plans for the 2009 athletics season at a hastily-arranged press conference held at the King Baudouin stadium.
  
But she stunned them all by announcing: "I'm retiring."
  
She added: "Wim and I have felt that after the Olympic Games and whatever I do in 2009 we would never be able to match what we achieved in 2008.
  
"I feel it's best to bow out at the top."
  
The Antwerp-born athlete's shock decision comes at the end of what has been her best season in the discipline.
  
A former heptathlete who turned exclusively to the high jump because of a shoulder injury, Hellebaut claimed the world pentathlon indoor title in Valencia earlier this year before going on to win Olympic gold in Beijing.
  
In 2006 she won the European high jump title in Gothenburg.
  
Top Belgian sprinter Kim Gevaert, one of the country's most popular athletes over the past six years, retired from the sport in September - a month after helping Belgium to Olympic silver in the women's 4x100m relay.
  
A soon-to-be first time mother, Hellebaut said she plans to work for a sports marketing company which manages top athletes.

Date created : 2008-12-05

COMMENT(S)