Irish Olympian Rob Heffernan announced his retirement from athletics this afternoon after his eighth-placed finish in the 50km race walk at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships in London.
Frenchman Yohann Diniz took the gold in a new championship record, while Hirooki Arai and Kai Kobayashi took the silver and bronze for Japan respectively.
Heffernan spoke with Athletics Ireland briefly after the race:
I just ran out of road. I wanted to go out on a positive.
The Cork native finished in ninth place in the 20km walk in London 2012, but in the 50km walk he finished in fourth place just missing out on a medal, however four years later he was upgraded to a bronze after the Russian gold medallist Sergey Kirdyapkin was subsequently disqualified for doping and his finish was upgraded.
In 2015 after two hip operations, Heffernan woke up in a London hospital after his second operation to find the anti doping officials were awaiting to test him.
The test subsequently brought up a positive test and Heffernan had to wait five weeks to find out whether the IAAF would enforce a doping ban.
He was cleared by the authorities after it was concluded that the drug found in his system was hydroxyethyl starch, a minor ingredient in the paracetamol used during the operation.
Here is the Twitter reaction to Heffernan retiring below;
@RM_Heffernan Not enough words to describe what you've given the Irish people. What a wonderful career. Thank you. Legend. 🇮🇪
— 💚Michelle💚 (@Shellers14) August 13, 2017
— Paul Sull (@paulsull13) August 13, 2017
— nickla martin (@ccfcgirlnickla) August 13, 2017
brilliant career from Rob Heffernan
— Peter Breen (@peterduxsybreen) August 13, 2017
Rob Heffernan finished 8th in the 50k walk gave 100% great ambassador for Cork
— Jim Horgan (@HorganJh) August 13, 2017