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Great Britain's Claudia Fragapane retires from gymnastics aged 26

GB's Claudia Fragapane retires from gymnastics aged 26
© Reuters
Five-time Commonwealth Games champion and two-time world medallist Claudia Fragapane announces her retirement from gymnastics at the age of 26.

Five-time Commonwealth Games champion Claudia Fragapane has announced her retirement from competitive gymnastics at the age of 26.

The Bristol-born athlete - a specialist in the floor exercise - hangs up her leotard having won 10 medals in international competitions, including a quintet of golds at the Commonwealth Games.

Fragapane took four of those titles at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, where she won the all-around, floor, vault and team events, before also winning gold in the latter at the Birmingham 2022 Games.

The latter years of Fragapane's career were plagued by injuries, though, and having not made another appearance on the international stage since the 2022 Commonwealths, she has called time on her time in the sport.

"It feels like the right time. I'm really happy with my career, gymnastics has been my whole life for as long as I remember, but now I'm ready to flick over a new chapter," Fragapane told the official British Gymnastics website.

"I started gymnastics at six years old, and from my first session at Bristol Hawks I said 'I want to go to the Olympics'. I don't think I knew how hard that would be at the time! But I absolutely loved the competitive side of gymnastics, I loved working hard to achieve what I wanted to.

"Once I started to get selected for squads, I just had this hunger to achieve more and more, and be the best I could be. Once my heart is set on something, I do everything I can to get there, and I think that's why I know that now is the right time to hang up my leotard from elite gymnastics."

Alongside her exceptional Commonwealth success, Fragapane won two bronze medals at the World Championships, placing third in the 2015 team event before also finishing on the podium in the floor competition two years later.

The 26-year-old also has three European silvers in her cabinet - team medals from the 2014 and 2016 Championships, as well as a floor accolade from 2015 - and she has confirmed that she will continue to train the next generation of GB gymnasts.

"I'm going to continue coaching and running choreography workshops. I want to empower gymnasts handle their nerves and perform with confidence, that's going to be my next focus," Fragapane added.

"Gymnastics has given me more than I could put into words. I've made lifelong friends, travelled the world, but I've also learnt so much about myself and the person I want to be. I'm excited to continue working in the sport that has made me who I am."

British Gymnastics also paid tribute to Fragapane's "incredible legacy", saying in a statement: "Claudia Fragapane, star of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is retiring from gymnastics. A senior career studded with success, Claudia pushed the boundaries of our sport and her impact on gymnastics will go down in history.

"We'd like to congratulate Claudia on an outstanding gymnastics career and thank her for the incredible legacy she leaves behind. She is a brilliant ambassador for the sport and we are excited to see the impact she will make as she shifts her focus to supporting the next generation to be their best. Good luck Claudia!"

After her glittering 2014 season, Fragapane was named the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, and she competed in the team final at the Rio 2016 Olympics but failed to make any individual apparatus finals.

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