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Beagle Lewis retires from athletics

PUBLISHED: 11:00 25 January 2018

Steve Lewis (right) with his gold medal for the Men's Pole Vault during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Steve Lewis (right) with his gold medal for the Men's Pole Vault during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

PA Archive/PA Images

British pole vault record holder bows out of the sport

Newham & Essex Beagles pole vaulting star Steve Lewis has announced his retirement from the sport.

The 31-year-old made the announcement earlier this month on social media and was inundated with messages from fellow athletes and great rivals who all had praise for the Beagle.

Still the British record holder with a leap of 5.82 metres set in July 2012, he went to the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, competing in the latter in his own stadium at Stratford.

With the Commonwealth Games taking place later this year in Australia, it is poignant to note that Lewis managed the full set of medals from the Championships, winning gold in 2014.

He also competed in five World Championships and made the final of the World Indoors, where his best was 5.77m set in March 2012.

In his farewell message, he said: “What an incredible life pole vaulting has given me. I spent 20 years consciously dedicating my time to become a true professional in my sport and it paid off in ways that I could only have dreamed of.

“I love sport because my achievements can never be taken away: Two-time Olympian, Commonwealth Games gold medalist and national record holder. These will always be remembered as the moment when I was able to let go and believe in my dream. I want to thank every single person who ever sponsored, supported, cheered, sent kind messages or even took a moment to think about me in times of joy and sadness.”

World record holder and double Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie replied: “Miss you my friend,” while current British women’s pole vault star Holly Bradshaw said: “Your positive energy will be missed! Thank you for being such a great role model, the British pole vault scene is much better off thanks to you. Enjoy your retirement.”

Although he never reached the literal heights of the six-metre boys like Lavillenie, Lewis flew the flag for Britain with some excellent competitive displays.

Frustrated by some of his efforts and by injury, he even attempted to change his technique, such was his dedication to the sport.

An extremely popular figure in the sport, his retirement leaves a big gap in the British men’s pole vaulting ranks.

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