El Guerrouj confirms his retirement


Athletics: Morocco's Olympic 5,000 and 1,500 metres champion Hicham El Guerrouj has announced his retirement from athletics. 

The 31-year-old, considered the greatest 1,500 metres runner in history, has not competed since the 2004 Athens Games. He missed last season with a virus and pulled out of March's indoor world championships in Moscow with a back injury.

"I am quitting competition," a tearful El Guerrouj told a news conference. "I hope the authorities and Moroccan athletes will continue to work so Moroccan athletics continues to be strong."

El Guerrouj's retirement was widely expected in Morocco after he told local reporters in March that he spent sleepless nights pondering his future out of athletics.

The Moroccan holds the world record of three minutes 26.0 seconds for the 1,500 and has won the world title over the distance four times. He also has the world marks for the mile (3:43.13) and 2,000 metres (4:44.79).