Eilidh Doyle, Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete, announces her retirement

Eilidh Doyle, Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete, has brought the curtain down on her medal-laden career by announcing her retirement from the sport.

Showing off her silver medal on the podium at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The 34-year-old had hoped to run in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer but suffered two bad injuries in the build-up.

A torn calf muscle and a broken toe left her with a race against time to be fit for the trials in Manchester later this month.

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The hurdler and relay runner has now decided to call time on a glittering career which saw her win medals at the Olympics, world and European championships and Commonwealth Games.

She said in a statement: “Athletics has all my heart focus and love but today I announce my retirement as a competitive athlete.

“I take with me so many amazing memories but, most importantly, I step away happy in the knowledge that this is the right time for me to go. I’m not saying it was an easy decision to make, but it was the right one and I am grateful I got to choose when it happened.

“The sport has brought me so much more than just medals. I have made lifelong friends, experienced incredible atmospheres, made history and even met my husband because of it.

“What an adventure is has been and now I look forward to the next one, whatever it may be.”

Doyle has not run since 2019 after taking time out following the birth of her son, Campbell, in January 2020.

Befitting someone who has made such a huge contribution to the sport, her last race saw her run the anchor leg in the 4x400m to win silver for Britain at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

Perth-born Doyle represented Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and won an Olympic bronze medal in the 4x400m relay at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro alongside Christine Ohuruogu, Emily Diamond and Anyika Onuora.

Arguably her greatest individual achievement came at the 2014 European Championships in Zurich when she won gold in the 400m hurdles, beating Anna Titimets of Ukraine and Irina Davydova of Russia.

Eilidh Doyle celebrates winning silver for Scotland in the 400 metres hurdles at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Doyle, the Scottish 400m hurdles record holder with a time of 54.09 seconds, is a three-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist (2010, 2014 and 2018). She also won World Championship silver medals as part of the GB 4x400m relay team in 2013 and 2017.

Her medal haul at major championships – indoor and outdoor – totals 17 and comprises three golds, eight silvers and six bronze across Europeans, World, Commonwealths and Olympics

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It all began for her in Pitreavie where her love of athletics was nurtured at a young age. She quickly got the bug and went on to reach the pinnacle of her sport where she was widely respected by her peers.

Eilidh Child shares a kiss with then fiancé, now husband, Brian Doyle after winning silver in Glasgow at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS

She was the British team captain for at the World Championships in London in 2017 and Team Scotland flag-bearer at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in 2018.

Double European champion Laura Muir paid tribute to her former team-mate. “You will be sorely missed on the athletics circuit,” tweeted Muir. “An amazing career – you have inspired countless people in the sport myself included.”

Doyle herself added: “I remember so clearly being nine years old and joining Pitreavie Athletics Club as a bit of fun. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined where the sport would take me over the next 25 years. Not all of it has been easy but my love for athletics has always been constant and still remains so to this day.”

Mark Pollard, head of performance with Scottish Athletics, praised Doyle’s immense contribution to the sport and hoped she would remain involved in some capacity.

“It is fitting and hugely appropriate that as Eilidh retires from competitive athletics we say a huge ‘Thank You’.

“I offer that from both the national governing body but also I am sure on behalf of the wider sport in Scotland.

Eilidh Doyle with GB team-mates Christine Ohuruogu, Emily Diamond and Anyika Onuora after winning relay bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

“It is safe to say Eilidh has made a massive contribution to our sport. This has been shown via her medals for Team Scotland as well as GB & NI, countless international circuit appearances and British Championship medals.

“But over a period of 25 years, from coming into the sport at nine, it has been about so much more than that. She’s a classic example of a youngster coming through the club system at Pitreavie AAC and then stepping up the levels and making it to the top of her sport.

“I would say a huge feature of Eilidh’s career has been her ability to maximise her talent thanks to hard work and dedication. That’s a key essence of our sport; can you be the best version of yourself?

“I’m certain that is something she would mention to younger athletes – alongside enjoyment and the social side of a club as the first steps.

“Eilidh took that on board and, equally, she never shied away from the fact that for a year or more after moving to Edinburgh for further education, her focus on athletics was not what it might have been. But her love of the sport brought her back to it soon enough.

“That commitment saw her give up a teaching career in Scotland and move away from her family to come under the coaching tutelage of Malcolm Arnold down south (in Bath). That was a key step in her progression to becoming a GB medallist and an Olympian.

“We would very much hope she won’t be lost to the sport. Eilidh already has some background roles – with Scottish Athletics and Athletics Trust Scotland – and I am certain in the coming months we will explore other possibilities.

“She has so much experience and knowledge to pass on and we would love to tap into that to help the next generation follow in her footsteps.”

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