Gillian Sanders ended ‘one amazing journey’ this week as she officially announced her retirement from professional triathlon competition.
The South African star competed in three Olympic Games and double-digit World Championships during a fine career, which ended at Super League Triathlon Malibu last month.
Retiring on her own terms
Making the announcement in a post on her Instagram channel, Gillian said she had always wanted to end her career on her own terms. Job done.
She said: “As athletes, the risk of our careers being cut short due to injury/illness etc is a very real one, so to be able to call the shots & say, ‘this is it, the end of this road’, I feel very extremely fortunate.
“11 years later I’m proud to have gone to 3 Olympic Games (London, Rio & Tokyo), 2 Commonwealth Games & 10 World Championships. I’m 7 x African Champion, have achieved a top 5 & numerous top 10s in World Triathlon Series races.
“I’m the only South African female to be on a World Cup podium since 1993, I’m a Commonwealth Games silver medallist as well as having attained multiple Continental Cup podiums.”
A triathlon life well lived
As well as blazing a trail for South African short-course triathlon, Gillian also talked about the amazing life she has led in the sport, and the amazing people she has met.
“Achievements aside, it’s been one amazing journey! I’ve met some incredible people along the way, made friends for life & traveled to every corner of our beautiful world.
“Nelson Mandela said ‘Sport has the power to change the world, it has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.’ This has resonated with me throughout my career.
“Sport teaches the most incredible life lessons. I’ve had some of my highest highs & lowest lows in my life as an athlete. It lays you out there, bare, open & vulnerable like nothing else does.
“But one thing is for certain, I’ve learnt so much about myself in the process and am absolutely a more rounded & better person for it all; and for that, I’m exceptionally grateful.”