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Heather Olver announces retirement

Heather Olver announces retirement

Double Commonwealth Games silver medallist Heather Olver has announced her retirement from the sport.

The 30-year-old won the team and mixed doubles silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, a team bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and represented Team GB in the women’s doubles at the Rio Olympic Games.

Olver, from Heathfield in East Sussex, took up the sport at the age of six but has decided the time is right to finish her career.

Her last tournament will be the Bitburger Open in Germany next week.

She said: “It is now time for me to end this chapter of my life with very fond memories.

“Although I may not be the most decorative or most successful player around, I feel very fortunate to have had the long career I have had and I’m proud of what I have achieved along the way. With many highs and lows along the journey it is still one I wouldn't change for the world.

“Having started playing badminton at the age of six and been fortunate to have been on the World Class Programme since its inception through to now, I have many thank-you's to say.

Heather Olver with parents“Firstly to my mum and dad, pictured, for taking me to Waldron Junior BC, driving me everywhere, supporting me, keeping me on track and being my number one fans (not biased at all) and to my brother for being dragged to every tournament and never letting me beat him!

“Thank you to my very first coach Bruce Peapel for introducing to me my love of badminton and dream of wanting to become an Olympian.

“Thanks also to my coaches throughout the years – from Karen Chapmen, Tanya Woodward, Manfred Tripp, Pete Bush, Andy Wood, to Julian Robertson.

“Thanks to all the EIS staff, you’re all brilliant. Thank you for inspiring, motivating, pushing and putting up with me! (I know a few grey hairs have developed over the years- yep Julian I'm talking about you!) and of course to my many partners over the years - thank you for the journey!

“Probably one of my biggest thank-you's is to UK Sport and everyone that plays the lottery, as it wouldn't have been possible for me to compete and achieve my dreams without your support!

“A big thank you also goes out to my sponsors over the years and particularly now to Babolat for supplying me with everything I've needed to be able to compete.

Heather Olver Commonwealth Games 2014

Olver won a silver medal with Chris Langridge at the 2014 Commonwealth Games

New chapter

“They say as one door closes a new one opens which I am excited and looking forward to exploring whatever it may be. Of course I will miss a lot of good friends and colleagues I have made along the way but I feel it is time and I am ready to close this door and move onto the next one in my life.”

However, she won't be too far away as she will continue to play in the AJ Bell National Badminton League for Birmingham Lions this season as well as compete in the Spanish League.

She added: “There really is some great talent amongst the squad, and with the great success of Marcus and Chris at the Olympics I believe there is plenty more great achievements to come.

“I look forward to watching everyone develop further and wish everyone the best for a successful career!! Keep believing and keep working hard."

Performance Director Jon Austin said: "I have known Heather for many years since she was first identified as a junior to be part of what was then called the World Class Start Programme.

"Over the years I have witnessed Heather develop a successful career culminating in qualification to compete at the Rio Games.

"To draw a line under her international career at the conclusion of the Olympic Games is an understandable and natural decision. Heather has been an invaluable asset to the Programme and we will now support her to make the transition to the next stage of her life.

"I am delighted that Heather will continue to compete domestically and trust that she will maintain her connection for many years with the sport that has been such a significant part of her life."