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Paula Ruiz in action during a long-distance event. SUR
Local Olympic swimmer calls it a day at the age of just 23

Local Olympic swimmer calls it a day at the age of just 23

Paula Ruiz competed at the Tokyo Games but has decided to retire due to a lack of institutional support

Pedro Luis Alonso

MALAGA.

Monday, 30 January 2023, 16:22

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After months away from high-level competition, Malaga Olympic swimmer Paula Ruiz has announced her retirement at just 23 years of age.

The long-distance and open-water swimmer competed at the Tokyo Games, after which she decided to take a sabbatical. During that time, she concluded it was time to call it a day.

"I would like to inform you that I am starting a new path away from top-level sport," she wrote in a press release, published on Saturday morning, in which she thanked all those who have helped her in her career: clubs, coaches, dieticians, psychologists, her family, institutions and the media.

"After trying to train outside Spain and failing to find the necessary support from the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation, I thought long and hard and eventually came to this conclusion," she wrote.

"I just hope that one day this sport of mine, and its athletes, will have their place within the Federation," she added, suggesting that open-water swimmers don't have a voice like those in other sports and hinted at a disconnect between pool swimmers and open-water swimmers in the eyes of the Federation.

Ruiz says she has been left "with a bitter taste" in her mouth, "and I don't deserve that".

The local swimmer has an impressive list of achievements despite being so young. She won gold medals at the World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in 2016 and 2018 and was sixteenth in the 10 kilometres at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, fourth at the Budapest European Championships (in 10 kilometres) in 2021, as well as racking up numerous victories in national and Andalusian competitions, including some in the pool.

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