March 25, 2015 / 11:39 AM / 4 years ago

Canoeist Cal, Spain's most decorated Olympian, retires

David Cal Figueroa of Spain celebrates his silver medal after the men's canoe single (C1) 1000m final at Eton Dorney at the London 2012 Olympics Games near London, August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young

MADRID (Reuters) - Canoeist David Cal, Spain’s most decorated Olympian with one gold medal and four silver, has called time on his career at the age of 32, the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) said on Wednesday.

Sprinter Cal, who carried the Spanish flag at the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, competed in the C1 class where the competitor kneels in his craft and uses a single paddle.

He won silver and gold in Athens in 2004, two silvers in Beijing and another silver in London in 2012.

“Spain’s most decorated Olympian is retiring,” COE said on their Twitter feed. “Just one word for our champion @DavidCal1: thank you!”

Spanish media reported Cal had decided to retire because he had lost his motivation, partly due to problems in securing funding.

He was raised in one of the small coastal villages near Pontevedra in north-west Spain and started canoeing aged eight.

“I lived near the beach,” he said in an interview with Reuters shortly before the London Games.

“I simply saw the people out there, it caught my attention. One day with a friend we had a go. I tried it, enjoyed it and there we are.”

Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Justin Palmer

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