Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers announces retirement
Dutch athlete Dafne Schippers announced on Tuesday her retirement from track and field. "The race stops here," she announced on her social media. During her career, Schippers won the world title in the 200 meters twice and secured a silver medal in the 200 meters at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Persistent back issues plagued her in recent years, preventing her from regaining her top form. Due to her injuries, she has not competed in a year.
“As an athlete, you always know this day will come, that at one point, your career will be a moment in time—a collection of memories and hopefully medals,” wrote the athlete from Utrecht. “Today, I have decided to take my life off track to pursue and embrace whatever comes next, but not without saying a massive thank you for all the endless support. It has been a journey without regret.”
The 31-year-old woman began her career as a heptathlete. She won the bronze medal in the heptathlon at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics. Her then-coach Bart Bennema recognized her sprinting talent and persuaded her to focus on the 100 and 200 meters. She won gold in both sprint distances at the 2014 European Championships in Zürich.
The following year, she capped her transition at the Beijing World Championships with a silver medal in the 100 meters, setting a Dutch record of 10.81 seconds, and a gold medal in the 200 meters with a time of 21.63, which at that time was the third-fastest ever recorded.
She then won the silver medal in the 200 meters at the Rio Olympics and the world title in the 200 meters at the 2017 World Championships. She also won medals at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin.
Her struggles began at the 2019 Doha World Championships. A groin injury forced her to withdraw from the 100-meter final, and she also had to skip the 200 meters. Her back issues increasingly became a concern, and she faced significant disappointment at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She withdrew from the 100 meters and failed to reach the final in the 200 meters.
In August, Schippers sounded hopeful. Speaking to NOS, she mentioned that despite her chronic back problems, she was not thinking of quitting. The athlete even expressed hopes of participating in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Reporting by ANP