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Athletics: Unmotivated Freeman quits.

Olympic 400 metres champion Cathy Freeman has retired from athletics.

Australia's head athletics coach, Keith Connor, said Freeman had decided not to run the 4x400 m relay at next month's world championships in Paris and would quit immediately.

'She's not going to compete at the world championships and she has, in fact, retired,' he said. 'It's very sad news for the team and for us in athletics, very sad news that she's retiring.'

Connor, who stopped over in London to talk to Freeman about her intentions before he travelled on to the Australian training camp in Italy, said she no longer had the desire to compete at the top level.

Freeman said the realisation had hit her that her gold medal in the Sydney Olympics, carrying the weight of the expectations of 19 million Australians,was a high point to which she could not return.

'I won't ever have the same fulfilling moment as I already have had,' she said. 'I don't have the same hunger. I know what it takes to be a champion, to be the best in the world and I just don't have that feeling right now. I'm tired all of a sudden. I've lost that want, that desire, that passion, that drive. I don't care any more.'

Freeman pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester last year to look after her husband, Sandy Bodecker, who was suffering from cancer.

She returned to training in January this year after losing two seasons due to her husband's illness and a thigh injury. She won her ninth Australian 400 m title before pulling out of the IAAF Villeneuve d'Asq meeting last month, due to a lack of preparation.

CAPTION(S):

Freeman in winning form at the Sydney Olympics
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 16, 2003
Words:291
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