Age no barrier as Rodriguez decides not to quit

Age no barrier as Rodriguez decides not to quit
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Spain's Natalia Rodriguez (right) enjoyed one of the best moments of her career when taking bronze at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

Spain's Natalia Rodriguez has changed her mind about retiring - and how fitting that teammate Ruth Beitia has led the praise on her decision to carry on running.

Rodriguez, the 2009 European Athletics indoor 1500m champion and national record holder, had originally decided to put an end to her career having participated in the last four Olympic Games.

But now she has revealed via twitter: "After publicly announce my retirement, I have tried to spend a few quiet days, which has given me the opportunity to think freely and deeply consider my decision.

"Until, eventually, your body and your mind will tell you that you must continue to fight for and with possibilities of reaching the finals at the next Olympic Games in Rio, I'm going to continue in this wonderful sport."

No sooner had she broken the news when Spanish high jumper star Beitia said: "At this time I hope she has been freed from all unnecessary tensions and pressures and will be as brave and feisty person as she always was. Very happy for her."

Beitia should know.

She turned 36 on 1 April but carries on in a sport where, after the Olympic Games in London in 2012, she too had decided to retire.

A few months later she changed her mind and some of the best moments of her career followed.

Beitia won gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg in 2013 before retaining her outdoor European title in Zurich last summer and finished fifth in the final at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague just a few weeks ago.

Rodriguez has been the measure of consistency since her sixth place at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Annecy in 1998.

She broke the national record in August 2005 with her run of 3:59.51 in Rieti and in 2009 won European gold in Turin in 4:08.72 before twice making the podium in the following year.

First came silver at the World Indoor Championships in Doha and then in the summer she was third in her home country at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

Twelve months after that, Rodriguez won bronze at the World Championships in Daegu.

Watch the 1500m final from Barcelona 2010 with two Spanish athletes on the podium: