110m hurdler Andy Turner to retire from athletics at the end of 2014

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Andy Turner to retire at the end of 2014

Former European and Commonwealth 110m hurdles champion Andy Turner says he will retire at the end of the year.

The 33-year-old competed in three Olympics and won bronze at the 2011 World Championships.

Turner's defence of his Commonwealth title ended prematurely last month when he hit a hurdle and failed to finish in the opening heat at Glasgow 2014.

He qualified as a fastest loser for Thursday's European Championships semi-finals in Zurich, his last major event.

Andy Turner medals
GoldSilverBronze
2010 Europeans, Commonwealths2010 Continental Cup2011 Worlds, 2006 Europeans & Commonwealths

In an interview with the BBC, Turner continued: "It is not a decision I have taken quickly.

"It is not something because of the disappointment in Glasgow - it has been in my mind for pretty much the whole year.

"Now is the right time for me to hang up my spikes and become a normal guy again. I have a lot going on outside track and field.

"That doesn't mean I am taking these [European] Championships for granted. I want to go out on a high and I am going to give it everything I have got."

Turner endured a traumatic 2013 when the sudden death of his mother was compounded by a burglary at his house on the day of her funeral.

"It was a really tough time in my life," he said. "I decided I didn't want to do anything at all - I didn't want to train, I didn't want to get out of bed.

Andy Turner
Andy Turner rues his 'schoolboy error' in the 110m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games

"I knew my mum would not want me to go out like that. I pushed myself and got back out on the track. I have made two championships, which is more than I expected to do."

Reflecting on the disappointment of Glasgow 2014 he said: "When you try too hard it is easy to make a mistake. It is not because I got lazy. It was because I wanted it so much.

"Sitting on that track was a lonely place to be. I look at those pictures and it keeps me motivated to keep going for these last few races. That was one moment when I realised my days on the track were numbered.

The Nottingham-born athlete, whose personal best time is the 13.22 seconds he recorded in June 2011, said his decision to retire was not influenced by persistent Achilles injuries.

Having regained full fitness following three operations, Turner said: "Now I am completely fit and healthy and it feels so good. I wake up in the morning and I could moonwalk if I wanted to. I could do ballet.

"I would struggle mentally to cope with it if injury forced me to give up. I just feel now is the right time for me to take a step back and let these young guys take it on.

"To even medal and become a champion is such a proud thing for me. I have the medals. I have the memories.

"My kids can take those medals to school to show people. That is what matters to me. I have opened doors for my children. They get bragging rights that their dad is on TV. I am a little sad they won't get to say that any more but I am delighted I have been able to do that for them."

Turner will compete in tomorrow's semi-finals alongside fellow British athletes Will Sharman and Lawrence Clarke, after his time of 13.51 seconds saw him qualify as a fastest loser.

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