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Athletics - 03. November 2014.

Nicola Sanders retires with her record still in place

When Nicola Sanders soared round the track at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham over seven years ago, she was on her way to a national record.




Such was her speed that Saturday in March 2007 as she won gold in the 400m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships that her 50.02 has literally stood the test of time.

It remains the quickest ever run by a British woman on the boards, and was one of many outstanding moments of those championships.

A legacy which Sanders will take with her into her new life after announcing her retirement from a sport where that year of 2007 was a period she will never forget.

Sanders is only 32 but a series of injuries has brought the end to a career in which she won eight major medals.

As Sanders tweeted: "I've had a brilliant time during my athletics career through all the ups and downs but the time had come to hang up my spikes!"

Speaking to Athletics Weekly, she added: "I haven't really competed over the last couple of years and even before that I was struggling with various injuries that stopped me performing at the level I could.

"With all that going in your head you can't really face going through all the training not being able to compete anymore."

Her biggest success was that European Indoor gold as she beat Ilona Usovich, of Belarus, who was second in 51.00, and Russia's Olesya Zykina, third in 51.69.

Sanders was then part of the British team which won bronze in 4x400m relay in Birmingham in a career where her major medal collection had begun when she finished third in the 400m hurdles at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Riga in 1999.

Later that year in 2007, though, she looked set to be crowned world champion in a dramatic 400m in Osaka before her British teammate Christine Ohuruogu came through to triumph in 49.61 from Sanders in 49.65.

She won her second 4x400m world relay bronze in Japan, adding to the one had she landed in Helsinki in 2005, before gaining another at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona in 2010.

Sanders started 2012 - the year of the Olympic Games in London - in style as a member of the gold-medal winning relay team at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

But she never ran at the Games and though she made a comeback last year in the 800m, and has been training recently, she has decided the time is now right to bow out.

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