Sawley’s Jon Schofield is to call it a day after a hugely successful canoe sprint career, which saw him medal at the London and Rio Olympics.
The 33-year-old, with partner Liam Heath, is a three-time European Champion, World Championship silver and bronze medalist, on top of bronze in London and silver in Rio – making them the most successful British K2 sprint pairing in Olympic history.
But this season will be his last, before taking up a new position at the Scottish Canoe Association, as Head of Performance and Pathways in June.
First, however, Schofield intends to race in the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup events in Poznan and Duisburg in May.
He said: “It is a really big move for me, moving around from being a full time professional athlete as the main focus in my life, but this role and opportunity was really for me the right time to give something back, to challenge myself in a different area and to make the most of what I’ve learnt during that time.
“It’s been a wonderful career, there’s been highs and lows, but I’ve shared a lot of that with a great team, some great coaches, great mentors and friends, so I’m moving onto the next level of my life with a bit of a heavy heart.
“There’s always desires to push onto the next level, in this case Tokyo, but I did get the feeling it was time for a new chapter to start for me.”
And he looked at his new role: “It will be a privilege to work in sport as a career.
“Sport has given me so much and I’ve been looking for a way to be involved in that once I stopped competing.
“To do that within canoeing is the absolute dream.
“It is a dream role that will enable me to impact and work with athletes and performance staff across a range of areas. When this role came up it was absolutely the right fit for me.”
Heath MBE added: “This is such fantastic and exciting news, both for Jon and for the sport. His knowledge and understanding of canoeing is second to none and I don’t know anyone more passionate about the sport than Jon.
“He is a selfless training partner and generous with his time to help other athletes.”