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Sarah Stevenson retires from Taekwondo

Sarah Stevenson, Britain's most successful ever taekwondo player, has announced her retirement.

But the four time Olympian from Doncaster won't be leaving the sport.

Stevenson, 30, who fought for the final time at London 2012, has earned a coaching role on Britain's World Class Performance programme.

I've known in my heart it's what I have wanted to do for a while.

But I held off in case I missed competition and wanted to go back.

I felt this way after Beijing 2008 and thought 'I am going to stop.'

When I did, I missed it so I didn't want to make the same mistake again.

However, this time I didn't miss it and I am glad I don't have to fight again. I have done enough and didn't want to put my body through anymore.

– Sarah Stevenson

Stevenson, still the reigning world champion at -67kg, has almost single handedly raised the profile of taekwondo, becoming a trail blazer for the likes of Olympic champion, Jade Jones, and London 2012 bronze medallist, Lutalo Muhammad.

I've had a very tough couple of years, losing my mum and dad, and then suffering my knee injury last year.

But there have been plenty of highs and plenty of firsts.

Becoming senior world champion at 18 was a stepping stone for our sport to enable us to start getting funding.

Winning the first Olympic medal for taekwondo in Beijing was another big one.

And then to top it off, becoming world champion again in 2011 through such traumatic circumstances, was very special.

– Sarah Stevenson

With such a wealth of experience to call upon, Stevenson was an obvious candidate to be considered for a position on the GB coaching staff.

I am excited to finally say I am retiring but it doesn't mean I have lost my love for the sport.

I haven't lost my determination to be the best and to win. So, I am delighted I have been accepted onto the coaching team so I can help put that into the athletes we have now and the next generation.

– Sarah Stevenson

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