German rower Boll will retire from the international podium after the Olympic Games in Paris

Berlin (Germany), May 28 (IANS): When Timo Boll boarded Air China Flight CA932 on Monday evening, the 43-year-old may have started his journey to the WTT Champions tournament in Chongqing with mixed feelings. Shortly before his departure, the two-time Olympic silver medalist announced that the Paris Olympics, his seventh Olympics, would be his final international appearance.

“I have often spoken in the past about how I was a little apprehensive about the decision to end my international career, even though it was inevitable that this day would come,” said the former world number 1. “Now it is time for my farewell on the world stage of active sports.”

Boll also announced that he will play another season for his club Borussia Düsseldorf in the domestic league and the Champions League. The experienced rower would be present as an advisor to his German club after his final season, Xinhua reports. “Table tennis has been my life and I will be there in whatever capacity,” he said.

Boll noted that he will “pay special attention to China and its people. There are so many ideas about what to do. I am sure my life will remain active and exciting.” Boll said he is grateful for his career. “But it seems enough now. My career has left its mark,” he said, referring to several injuries over the years.

“You start to extend your recovery time, find ways to explore new treatment measures, you shorten your training time to be at a competitive level during tournaments,” he told Xinhua in a recent interview. “I have reached an age that affects my performance. It has been a constant battle against the pain in recent years. That is far from satisfactory, and you are aware that you are increasingly losing the battle against the pain.”

Boll, the first German rower to become world number 1 in 2003, has also won two silver medals at Beijing 2008 and Tokyo 2020, and two bronze medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016, all in the men’s team event. “Being here is like coming home as China has become my second home over the years,” Boll said of his relationship with China. “I know that many players and people have a large fan base. It is always a pleasure for me to be here or play tournaments in China.”

The prospect of attending his seventh Olympics kept him going despite “the past few years not being overwhelmingly joyful.”

Before he steps down, one of the greatest players in his sport is on his way to one last big goal. “It would be a perfect farewell if we manage to win a team medal at the Olympic Games in Paris,” said the eight-time European champion who has had a career spanning 25 years.

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