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Fencing: Ana-Maria Popescu announces retirement in tearful video

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Ana Maria Popescu

Romanian fencer Ana-Maria Popescu, olympic vicechampion in Tokyo, announced, on Tuesday, her retirement from activity in a tearful video, mentioning she no longer has the motivation to continue after a 20-year career.

In a video clip recorded immediately after winning the silver medal in the International Epee Cup in Dubai and posted on her personal YouTube account, Ana-Maria Popescu explained that this was her last competition.

"People, this was it, it seems the 20 years spent here in the fencing hall are coming to an end. This was the last competition for me. I somehow believed I was ready for this moment, because I don't feel like going on. This was it and somehow since childhood I promised myself that I would feel when it was time to stop. And that time has come. I know this, because I no longer have motivation to go on, everything hurts too bad. I believe it's the moment to start a new life or have a life outside the fencing hall. Certainly I will return to the gym, but I will never wear this suit in official competition and it's tough," she said.

"I started without a podium, but at least I go out with a podium, even if second place. My mother was right when I returned from the first National Championship ranked next to last... she told me then that if I reversed the standings I would feel a vicechampion. Behold, today I actually am a vicechampion. This year was a silver one for me. But I'm glad that although it wasn't one of the very tough competitions, I am glad I was able to go on the podium," the athlete added.

Ana-Maria Popescu thanked all those who supported here in her career, as well as her family members.

"I want to thank all for support, all the people I've collaborated with along the years. People I grew up with, I teamed with... starting from the federation, CSA Steaua, COSR [Romanian Sports and Olympics Commitee], all the people who were involved in one way or another in this story. And somehow I hope that from now on we will write beautiful stories for Romanian athletes. I love you all and I thank you, especially those there in social media... who have been with me both when I finished with a medal, and especially when I failed at the start of the competition. I hope you keep staying with me because a chapter has ended in my life, but surely other surprises will follow. Now I'll go finish crying. And thank you, Mr. Popescu, for the advice given today. They worked until the final. And thank you for supporting me for this long. Mother, Marius, I love you!," the athlete concluded.

Aged 37, Ana-Maria Popescu (nee Branza) was named the world's best swordswoman for the fifth time at the end of November by the International Fencing Federation, thus setting a new record. She received this title in the 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2012-2013, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons.

Ana-Maria Popescu has in her track record three Olympic medals (one gold and two silver), seven World Championship medals (2-2-3) and 13 European medals (7-4-2), together with numerous World Cups won, being the best known fencer in Romania.

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