European bronze medallist Ruebyn Richards (GBR) announces retirement
Britain’s European Taekwondo Championships bronze medallist Ruebyn Richards has announced his retirement from the sport aged just 22 after suffering a string of severe injuries.
Richards, third in the under 68 kilograms category at the event in the Azerbaijani capital Baku in 2014, has endured lengthy spells on the sidelines during his short career to date.
He now plans to complete his sports management degree at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Richards had been chosen to represent his country at the inaugural European Games, also in Baku, during the summer but broke his foot before the competition and was unable to participate.
After reaching the quarter-finals of the 2013 World Championships in Puebla, Mexico, where he suffered a controversial defeat to home favourite Uriel Adriano, he damaged ankle ligaments the same year, again hampering his development.
In 2014, the same ligament snapped completely, Richards says, and he has opted to retire early to prevent further damage to his body, ending his dream of competing at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I know it is sad to let everything go but it feels like the right decision,” Richards said.
“Rio was always the big aim for me and over the past two years I have struggled to do any fighting to get points towards qualification.
“I knew I would graduate the year after Rio anyway so I would probably have made this decision then.
“So, it is not too much different than what I planned though obviously without the Rio medal.”
Richards joined the GB Academy through the UK Sport Fighting Chance scheme, a nationwide talent spotting initiative, in 2011 and has fought at three different weight categories during his career.
He ruled out hopes he may make a comeback at some point in the future, insisting “this is it for me”.
“This year I broke my foot but I later discovered one of the pins had come straight through the bone,” Richards, who reached the last 16 at this year’s World Championships in Chelyabinsk, added.
“Every time I stepped on the foot I could feel it.
“So, about two months ago I had another operation to have the metalwork taken out.
“The doctors told me if this one didn’t heal right I could have serious long term injuries.
“Fortunately, my foot has fully healed now and my ankle is pretty strong.
“But this is it for me in taekwondo.
“I am pretty happy with this being the conclusion and I don’t intend on coming back.
“I won’t miss the training – it is a lot more tiring than people think.
“But I will miss the camaraderie of my team mates.
“There was such a great atmosphere and that will be the main thing I miss.”
Source: InsidetheGames (Liam Morgan)