Angelica Bengtsson, who won European medals at both outdoor and indoor championships, has laid down her poles at the age of 28.
On her Instagram, the Swedish vaulter said: “Today I have chosen to end my career. You know what? It feels so right in the stomach. I’ve been doing this since I was six years old and constantly moved around making great sacrifices to get better.
“Now it will be so nice to land. I’m so grateful to everyone who helped me. All coaches, all training buddies, everyone who cheered and supported and stoked me. Thanks to you, I have taken championship medals and broken records.
“Above all, I have received a large amount of experiences and memories that I will always carry with me. Thank you! Now it’s time for me to invest in life outside sport and think about being me instead.”
A prominent athlete at youth level, Bengtsson broke onto the scene in 2009 when she won the gold medal at the World Youth Championships with a clearance of 4.32m, an astonishing 22cm more than the next athlete.
A glittering youth career saw the Swede become a European and two-time world junior champion while a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010, plus the fact that she set U18 and U20 world records, emphasised the fact that come senior championships Bengtsson could challenge for major honours.
Bengtsson’s success at senior level came in European competitions. In 2015 the Swede became U23 European champion and claimed European Indoor bronze before winning her first senior medal outdoors in Amsterdam a year later. In Belgrade, in 2017, she added a third bronze in as many years to her name.
At Olympic and world level however, Bengtsson found life much tougher.
At London 2012, Rio 2016 and most recently at Tokyo 2020 she finished 19th, 14th and 13th respectively. At world championships, the Swede got much closer but narrowly missed out on a podium, with fourth at Beijing 2015 her best finish.
At Doha 2019, Bengtsson was fortunate to come away unhurt after her pole suddenly snapped mid-run at 4.80m. She didn’t have time to land safely and her head smashed into the ground but thankfully she was unscathed and, remarkably, cleared the height to finish sixth overall.
Bengtsson holds the Swedish indoor record for the women’s pole vault with a personal best of 4.81m. She held the outdoor record of 4.80m before Michaela Meijer took that crown with 4.83m last year.
Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis holds the men’s pole vault Swedish and world record with 6.18m indoors and 6.15m outdoors.
Source: Tim Adams