• Commonwealth Games

Back injury forces Houvenaghel to quit cycling

ESPN staff
July 23, 2014
Wendy Houvenaghel (left), with Laura Trott and Dani King, won the team pursuit at the 2011 World Championships © PA Photos

Northern Ireland's Wendy Houvenaghel has announced her retirement from cycling after injury forced her to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games.

Houvenaghel, an Olympic silver-medallist at Beijing in 2008, will return to dentistry after announcing a back injury restricted her training ahead of the Glasgow showpiece, where she had targeted a podium finish.

"The past decade of my life has been dedicated to professional cycling and it has, for the most part, been extremely rewarding," she told BBC Sport.

"I have always dedicated myself 100% to my role as a natural professional sports person and I am immensely proud of my consistently high achievements from the beginning."

Houvenaghel was a late bloomer to the sport aged 27 but represented England in the 2006 Commonwealth Games before winning a silver medal for Northern Ireland in the 3,000m individual pursuit in Delhi four years.

The 39-year-old also boasts a record of being the national 3km pursuit champion three times while she was part of the gold medal winning team pursuit in the 2010 European Championships, and 2011 World Championships.

"It is never easy to make the final decision to end one's sporting career," she added.

"It is disappointing to have to withdraw from competition at the Commonwealth Games. However, I would like to wish my Northern Irish team-mates every success with their performances in Glasgow.

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