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Seven-time Paralympic champion Kindred retires

Sascha Kindred

Seven-time Paralympic swimming champion Sascha Kindred has announced his retirement after a 23-year international career.

The 39-year-old has been one of the leading figures in the sport since he made his international debut in 1994.

Last year, he won gold in the SM6 200m individual medley at the Rio Paralympics – his sixth Games.

“The physical and mental demands to be an elite athlete are becoming too much,” he admitted.

Kindred, who has cerebral palsy which affects the right side of his body, had his funding cut after Rio when he was left off the British Swimming 2017 podium programme.

But he later won an appeal and had it reinstated.

Kindred’s Paralympic golds
Sydney 2000 SM6 200m individual medley
Sydney 2000 SB7 100m breaststroke
Athens 2004 SM6 200m individual medley
Athens 2004 SB7 100m breaststroke
Beijing 2008 SM6 200m individual medley
Beijing 2008 SB7 100m breaststroke
Rio 2016 SM6 200m individual medley

“Knowing when to stop a career is a very hard decision to make especially when it’s part of your life, but stopping with Paralympic gold and a world record is very pleasing,” he said.

“From learning to swim at 11 and making my major championship debut at 16 at the inaugural World Championships in Malta, I never dreamt of being an international swimmer for more than two decades.

“I have witnessed Para-sport going from strength to strength and enjoyed being a part of that growth representing GB.

“Finishing with 62 major championship medals and being Paralympic champion seven times is something I’m very proud of.”

National performance director Chris Furber says it has been a privilege to work with Kindred since he took up his role four years ago.

“Sascha’s contribution to not just Para-swimming but Paralympic sport over the last 20 years has been phenomenal and I think something we are unlikely to see surpassed,” he said.

“He has been a fabulous ambassador for British Swimming and ParalympicsGB and I very much hope he remains in sport.”

Analysis

Elizabeth Hudson, BBC disability sport reporter

Sascha Kindred’s experience and wisdom will be sorely missed from the Great Britain Para-swimming team.

The ‘old man’ of the British swimming team, last year he marvelled at how he had only learned to swim when he was 11 and now in Rio he had team-mates like 13-year-old Abby Kane competing at the elite level at a young age.

His victory at the Rio Aquatics Centre was one of the most emotional moments of the Games, after he had been disqualified after the heats and then subsequently reinstated to the final.

At the age of 38 and despite the aches and pains, he dug deep to ensure his Paralympic career finished on a high with a world record and a gold medal.

The Manchester United fan will enjoy spending more time with his biggest fans, wife Nyree (herself a former GB Para-swimmer) and daughter Ella, and hopefully go on to inspire another generation of Para-swimmers.

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BBC Sport – Swimming

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