Bahraini sprinter Rakia Al Gassra retires for health reasons
Rakia Al Gassra stunned the Bahrain sports world when she announced her retirement from competitive athletics.The 27-year-old sprinter said that concern for her overall health was what prompted her to call it a day.
She added that her decision came after many months of medical tests and long contemplation.
"My current health situation does not permit me to be at my best, be it for training or for competition. Because of this, I am retiring from competitive athletics so that I can focus on getting back to 100 per cent health," she said.
"After the World Championships in Berlin in August, I had many examinations with doctors and specialists, here and in Germany, and they all advised me to take a long period of treatment.
"This time my recovery will make it difficult for me to train hard and be at my best, so it is only fitting that I stop."
She said that she received mixed reactions from those closest to her when she first told them of her plans to retire.
"Nobody agreed with me; I myself did not want to stop at first, but this is for my health and my future, and I must take care of it now," she explained.
The sprinter added that she will keep an open mind about one day returning to competition when she returns to full fitness.
"What will happen in the future, we don't know, but we shall see if I can come back," she said. "Any athlete, if they feel good, they will want to compete. I know coming back will be hard, but it is not impossible."
Source: Bahrain Athletics Association website
Photo by Péter Zádor