Three-time Paralympian Kate Horan has announced her retirement from Para-cycling.
The New Zealander plans to focus on family life and will seek new challenges after a glittering career.
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“I always thought I would be dragged away kicking and screaming from Para-sport as it means so much to me,” Horan said.
“However, racing recently in Cambridge I realised as I came off the track that I was done.
“I always thought it would be my body that would stop me; but it is all about the mental edge and drive that is needed to compete at the highest level.
“I no longer have this so now is the time to retire.”
Horan made her Paralympic Games debut in Athens in 2004 and set a world record in the 400 metres T44 race.
Having missed out on a medal in Athens, she made amends four years later at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, where she claimed Paralympic silver in the same event.
Horan said Para-sport had made a huge differece to her life after investing 16 years in her cycling ambitions.
She added: “When I first started I was very uncomfortable with being different as an amputee, however Para-sport and the amazing people I have met, raced and trained with have changed my view of myself in the most positive way.
“I am looking forward to starting a new journey and competing in the 2021 Coast to Coast.
“For now I just want to enjoy the festive season and school holidays with my wonderful family.”
Horan missed London 2012 through a combination of factors, including the birth of her third child at the end of 2011 and a tendon tear in her hamstring.
The demands of the sport saw her switch to track cycling and she went on to claim four World Championship medals and finished in fourth, sixth and eighth places at Rio 2016 in the Velodrome.
In Rio, the New Zealand Paralympic Team secured 21 medals across 12 individual medallists.
Speaking of her career highlights, Horan said: “It was definitely being awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Paralympic sport in 2017.
“It is a real honour and celebration of what Para-sport means to me.”
Malcolm Humm, high-performance director at Paralympics New Zealand, paid tribute to Hora’s contribution to the Paralympic Movement.
He said: “Kate has been one of New Zealand Para-sport’s stalwarts having competed internationally for close to two decades in two Para-sports.
“Her achievements across three Paralympic Games and numerous world championships have been outstanding.
“Throughout this time, Kate has been a role model for many young Para-athletes as she has constantly delivered a non-compromised approach to training and competition while raising her family.
“We look forward to working with Kate to continue her involvement with the Paralympic family and wish her all the best for the future.”