European champion Sprunger to retire at the end of 2021

Lea Sprunger
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Lea Sprunger celebrates her 400m hurdles title at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships

European 400m hurdles champion Lea Sprunger from Switzerland has announced she is planning to retire at the end of the 2021 season.

Now 30, Sprunger wrote on her official Twitter account yesterday: “Good morning season 2021! I am so ready for you! Last one, best one!”

This means Sprunger will not defend her European 400m hurdles title at the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships although she could possibly defend her 400m crown at the Torun 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships next March.

Sprunger is targeting her third Olympic Games in Tokyo next summer and she will be looking to upgrade on her fourth-place finish from the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha. Behind Dalilah Muhammad’s world record of 52.16, Sprunger finally broke Anita Protti’s long-standing national record with 54.06 to achieve her best ever finish in a global championships.

A year prior to Doha, Sprunger won the European 400m hurdles title in Berlin as a self-proclaimed beginner. The Swiss began her career as a promising heptathlete, winning bronze at the 2009 European Athletics U20 Championships, before eventually finding her niche in the 400m hurdles via the 200m and 400m.

Sprunger holds the Swiss 400m records both indoors (51.28) and outdoors (50.52) as well as the Swiss indoor 200m record with 22.88.

Outdoor lifetime bests

100m 11.34 (2014)
200m 22.38 (2016)
300m 35.70 (2017)
400m 50.52 (2018)
300m hurdles 38.93 (2016)
400m hurdles 54.06 (2019)
Heptathlon 5651 points (2011)
4x100m relay 42.94 (2014)
4x400m relay 3:29.15 (2019)

Indoor lifetime bests

60m 7.31 (2020)
200m 22.88 (2018)
300m 36.72 (2019)
400m 51.28 (2018)
4x400m relay 3:33.72 (2019)