Athletics: Kiwi hammer ace, three-time Commonwealth Games medallist Julia Ratcliffe retires

Kiwi hammer ace and three-time Commonwealth Games medallist Julia Ratcliffe has called time on her distinguished career.

The 29-year-old claimed silver at the 2022 Birmingham Games, to go along with her stunning gold medal effort at Gold Cast in 2018, and another silver at Glasgow in 2014.

She also finished ninth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic final but feels the time is right to step away from the sport she loves.

"I've done all the senior competitions available to me. I know I can throw further, but I also know what that would take out of me," Ratcliffe said.

"The extra joy that would come from throwing another 50cm is not worth the blood, sweat and tears of all that hard training anymore.

"I look back with huge fondness on my time in the sport, I just now want to try something new."

Born and raised in Hamilton, Ratcliffe enjoyed the best distances of her career in 2021.

She admits it's still hard to comprehend the career she's had, but is delighted with her achievements on the international stage.

"When my career achievements are written down, it is quite overwhelming," Ratcliffe said. "I still think of myself as a kid from Hamilton who throws hammers in the backyard with dad. 

"To think I went on to perform as a high-performance international athlete, and what dad (and coach, Dave) and I went on to achieve together is very cool.

"Nothing can quite beat that feeling of standing on top the podium, seeing the flag go up, hearing the national anthem, knowing you are the reason why that anthem is being played - it was very special.

"I was immensely satisfied with how I performed in Tokyo. Having waited for a year because of the postponed Games to finally get there and technically own my first qualification throw, I am so proud."