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Kelly Simm: Great Britain gymnast retires after surgery

Great Britain gymnast Kelly Simm says she has no regrets after announcing her retirement from the sport.

The 28-year-old from Fareham twice won gold for England in the team event at the Commonwealth Games and helped GB claim their first World Championship team medal in Glasgow in 2015.

However after an injury-hit 2023 Simm has chosen to step away.

"I've had the most incredible career - it's just come to a natural end," she told BBC South Today.

Simm took up the sport aged six and said: "It's been a huge decision. You never really think it's going to come to an end, you think it's going to go on forever.

"But in the last year I have had another surgery. I have always wanted to do gymnastics to the best of my ability and its started to get to the point where I can't train the way I need to.

"I just want to be able to compete to my best. You don't want to be out there if you're not and ultimately that was what led to it."

While Simm said retirement was difficult to accept, she added: I don't regret anything, I am so proud of the journey and thankful for everyone who has been a part of it.

"To make a GB team at 16 - you train so much but never think you'll get there, so to make it was incredible. To go to three Commonwealth Games and to be part of the first team to win a World Championship medal was huge."

Simm said she was disappointed not to have competed at an Olympics, having missed out on Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 and retiring less than six months before Paris 2024.

"The Olympics is one which will always sting a little bit, I was so close twice and had two major injuries at the wrong time. That was difficult," she said.

"Sometimes in elite sport all the stars have to align, you work hard but it's a little but of luck as well."

Simm is starting the process of reinventing herself and admits the future is scary.

"Gymnastics is who I am. Everything about my life was gymnastics," she said.

"I've definitely felt a bit lost these past few months. I am continuing to find myself and learn, try and find new passions. You're starting again at the age of 28. It's a transition and I know I'll find things I enjoy."

One of those passions is working to improve the sport for the next generation.

The 2022 Whyte Review found "systemic" physical and emotional abuse in the sport "borne of inadequate practice".

This included athletes having their bags searched for food in the "tyranny" of weight management.

"I was in GB squads for 12 years. I've seen it change a lot. You go into it and you don't know any different," she said.

"It's had a bit of a shake-up the past two years and that really opens your eyes to what was correct and what maybe could have been done a lot better.

"It's brilliant to see it evolving. I am on some of the advisory boards trying to make a difference and improve the sport for future generations."

Hear more from Kelly Simm on BBC South Today from 18:30 GMT on Tuesday.