Heptathlon winner Jessica Ennis-Hill at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Ennis-Hill announces retirement

Jessica Ennis-Hill of Great Britain, the two-time world champion and 2012 Olympic gold medallist in the heptathlon, announced her retirement on Thursday (13).

"Amazing memories... from my first world title in Berlin 2009 to Rio 2016 I'm so fortunate to have had such an amazing career within the sport I love," Ennis-Hill, 30, wrote in an announcement posted on her Instagram account. "This has been one of the toughest decisions I've had to make."

"But I know that retiring now is right. I've always said I want to leave my sport on a high and have no regrets and I can truly say that."

Ennis-Hill's decision comes exactly two months after she finished second at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a competition that would be her last.

Ennis-Hill's rise to the upper echelon of her event began in 2006 when she took bronze in the heptathlon at the 2006 Commonwealth Games when still a teenager, marking the start of an elite career that would last for the next decade.

Part of London 2012's 'Super Saturday'

She won the first of her two world titles in Berlin in 2009, captured the European title in 2010 and took world silver in 2011 before her crowning achievement at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Competing before a capacity crowd of more than 80,000 at London's Olympic Stadium, Ennis-Hill was part of Great Britain's memorable "Super Saturday" trio --along with long jumper Greg Rutherford and distance star Mo Farah-- who captured gold medals within the span of one hour. Her 6955-point tally was her second national record in the event that year, and would remain her career best that ranks her fifth in the event all-time.

A nagging achilles injury sidelined her from the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow. She then took 2014 off from competition to give birth to son Reggie in July, but returned to competition less than one year later, finishing fourth at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis with 6520 points. Just two months after that, she capped a remarkable comeback with a second world title tallying 6669 points in Beijing.

Signalling a return to full fitness this season, Ennis-Hill won the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting in Ratingen, Germany, in June, with 6733 points, 64 more than the tally that brought her gold in Beijing. She captured the silver medal in Rio in August with 6775 points, just 35 behind winner Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium.

Indoors, she won world indoor gold in the pentathlon in 2010 and silver in 2012. Her 4965-point career best from the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul ranks fourth on the all-time list.

"The entire performance team of coaches, athletes and support staff will miss her at events," said Neil Black, Performance Director for British Athletics. "Not only has she competed at the highest level, but she has been a warm and positive presence within the GB team and a great example to the younger team members.

"Her record as an athlete is phenomenal and that’s without considering the challenges of returning from pregnancy to win World gold and Olympic silver."

She too expressed gratitude to her family, friends, team and fans for their long-time support.

"I want to thank my family and incredible team who have spent so much of their time supporting me and enabling me to achieve my dreams. Also a huge thank you to all those people who have supported and followed my career over the years."

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF