Maria de Lurdes Mutola of Mozambique wins gold in the women's 800m final (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Mutola declares she will retire at the end of 2008

Mozambique’s Maria Mutola, the 2000 Olympic 800m champion, and arguably the greatest ever exponent of the art of women’s 800m racing both indoors and out, this afternoon officially declared that 2008 will be the last year of her distinguished career.

Through her representative Jeff Fund, who like Maria has become one of the most recognizable faces on the circuit in the last decade or so, Mutola who has blazed an unmatchable record over an international career of 20 years which stretches back to the 1988 Olympic Games, declared that:

“2008 is a good year to step away from the track. With the World Indoor Championships in which I have had my most prolific run of success, and the Olympics, all in one year, how could I want for a better farewell,” said the 35-year-old star who has won seven World Indoor titles at 800m.

“Beijing was always going to be a high point for me, and so the time seems right. 17 years is a long time at the top (since 4th place at World champs in 1991) and after one final Olympic campaign it seems the perfect time to move on to other challenges,” concluded the three-time outdoor World champion.

Fund doesn’t rule out the possibility that Mutola might still come back to run the occasional meeting though her championship ambitions will be no more after 2008.

“In her mind I know she (Maria) expects to do well in Beijing, and after laser surgery this winter following further injury last year (Mutola was carried out on a stretcher from the Osaka World Championships Final) she is back healthy again.”

“Mutola is the reigning World Indoor champion and no one should forget how she was written off prior to winning that title in 2006, so anything is possible in Beijing,” confirmed Fund.

Starting in 1993, Mutola has so far made eight attempts at the World Indoor 800m crown and outstandingly has gathered seven golds and one silver medal. In the outdoor World Championships, she has taken three titles, with one silver and a bronze and two fourth places also to her credit. If there has been a frustration it is perhaps only securing one Olympic gold medal in her career, with fifth, fourth and third place finishes notched-up in her other final appearances.

Known affectionately to many as ‘Million Dollar Mutola’ thanks to her triumphant winning of the entire $1 Million IAAF Golden League Jackpot in 2003, Mutola also burnished her name in the history of our sport in a more traditional way with a World record at 1000m (1995) and two World Indoor records for 1000m (1996 and 99), and set eight African records at 800m.

Overall Grand Prix winner in 1993 and 1995, Mutola also sped to four 800m wins at the World Cup for Africa and eight titles at an Area level via the African Champs (4 x 800m and 1 x 1500m) and Games (3 x 800). Mutola has run sub-2 minutes for 800m a total of 191 times from 1991 to 2007.

Chris Turner
IAAF Editorial Manager