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Konuralp may call time on swimming career

PUBLISHED: 13:34 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 05 October 2010

Dervis Konuralp returned empty handed from Beijing last week after his bid for Paralympic gold ended in disappointment

Dervis Konuralp returned empty handed from Beijing last week after his bid for Paralympic gold ended in disappointment.

Now the British swimmer, who trains at the Mile End Leisure Centre and York Hall, has admitted that he is unsure whether he will compete in London in four years time.

The 27-year-old swimmer, who suffers from Stargardt's macular dystrophy - a visual impairment that means he has no central vision - finished seventh in the 200m individual medley in the Beijing Watercube.

His time of 2mins 23.01secs would have earned him gold in Athens four years earlier, but despite failing to collect the gold medal he had targeted, Konuralp was proud of his achievements.

He said: "I think I swam a lifetime best. I've been in this game for so many years - I can't ask for any more, can I? I hoped that time would win a medal but I put everything into the training, so I can't be too disappointed.

"It just shows you how stiff the competition was this time. So I'm really pleased and really proud of myself."

Konuralp has won 35 international medals and 14 golds in his career, but despite competing in four consecutive Paralympics since making his debut in Atlanta in 1996, he has never secured the top prize at the Games.

The prospect of trying to do so in London in 2012 is tempting, but he admits he is still mulling over his swimming future.

He said: "When I have got the opportunity to sit down and analyse and start talking about the future to make plans, then I will decide.

"I would love to say yes for London, but I will be there - maybe not as an athlete, maybe a mentor."

Konuralp has promised that he will continue to promote the benefits of swimming.

"Swimming gives me belief," he said. "It shows me I can overcome my disabilities, which is the biggest point. I've got skills from my sport, which has made me a better person.

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