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José Antonio Escuredo won the silver in the keirin at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Track sprinter bows out with strong words
Spanish track sprinter José Antonio Escuredo has announced his retirement at the age of 39. After almost three decades of racing that has brought him a silver medal in the keirin at the 2004 Athens Olympics, silvers at the World Championships in the same discipline in 2004 and 2006, 10 World Cup victories and no fewer than 31 Spanish titles, three of which he still holds, Escuredo has decided to quit having been hampered in recent months by persistent injuries.
"I haven't been able to train for months now, so I want to announce my decision to retire from competition after almost three decades of devoting myself to it with heart and soul," said Escuredo. "A decision like this is always difficult to take and even more so in my case since injuries and numerous crashes in recent times have not allowed me to demonstrate the level I've been at with results."
The Spaniard added: "In spite of this, my preference is to bow out in this way when I'm still in good physical shape. I'm still the reigning Spanish champion in the three track sprint disciplines which I've focused on in recent years – the keirin, individual sprint and team sprint."
Escuredo also made clear he is less than impressed with the performance of the Spanish track team's support staff. He stated that "the difficulties that the national track team is experiencing" had also played a role in his decision.
"I don't want this to sound like the principal motive for my retirement, nor as criticism of the federation, nor as personal criticism of the national coach, but it is clear there is a bad atmosphere in the team and a total lack of knowledge within the national team's technical staff towards track racing in general and the sprint disciplines in particular."
After that swipe at those running Spain's track program, Escuredo concluded by saying: "Apart from all that, looking back I want to say that I am happy and very satisfied with what I've achieved during my sporting career."