Athletics: Former European 400m hurdles champion Rhys Williams retires through injury

Rhys Williams
Rhys Williams in action at the 2016 European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam

Former European 400m hurdles champion Rhys Williams has announced his retirement due to an Achilles injury.

Williams, 33, won 2012 European gold, silver in 2010 when he also claimed Commonwealth Games bronze.

The London 2012 Olympian had hoped to compete in the Commonwealths on the Gold Coast in April 2018.

Williams was ruled out of Glasgow 2014 after failing a doping test and given a four-month ban for inadvertently taking a banned supplement.

Williams won Commonwealth bronze in Delhi in 2010 behind Welsh rival Dai Greene but injury put paid to his bid to win another medal in Australia next year.

"As a patriotic Welshman, nothing has given me more pride than putting on a Welsh vest and competing for my country," said Williams.

Rhys Williams (right) with Dai Greene
Rhys Williams (right) with Welsh 400m hurdles rival Dai Greene at the 2010 Commonwealth Games

"Unfortunately, injury has prematurely ended my hopes of competing one last time at the Commonwealth Games next year.

"I would like to thank Welsh Athletics and Sport Wales for all their help and support during my athletics career.

"I would also like to thank all my support team who have supported me faithfully over the years; my family, coaches, sponsors and all my training partners."

Williams, son of Welsh and Lions rugby legend JJ, was European champion from every level from Under-18 to senior level where he also won silver and bronze in 2006 and 2010 to go with his 2012 triumph.

He competed for Wales at two Commonwealth Games, finishing fourth in Melbourne in 2006 with his bronze in Delhi coming four years later.

Williams competed for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics where he reached the semi-final, the same level he also achieved at the 2005 and 2013 World Championships.

Welsh Athletics head of coaching and performance Scott Simpson said: "Rhys' decision to retire from the sport is one that has clearly been given a great deal of thought and one that we have met with the utmost respect and support.

"It is never an easy decision to make. He achieved so much on the international stage.

"Winning medals at European and Commonwealth level as well as representing Great Britain on the world stage and at a home Olympic Games makes him an icon within the sport in Wales."

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