PITREAVIE AAC star Eilidh Doyle has announced her retirement from athletics.

The 34-year-old, who has won 17 major medals - which included European Championship gold, Olympic bronze and three Commonwealth Games silvers - has revealed the news in an emotional social media statement posted this morning.

Eilidh, who also holds four Scottish national records - two individuals and two within relays - said that she will "take with me so many amazing memories but, most importantly, I step away happy in the knowledge that this is the right time for me to go".

The Perth-born 400 metre hurdles star, who started with Pitreavie at the age of nine, has enjoyed a stellar career at the highest level of the sport.

She won silver in the 400m hurdles in three successive Commonwealth Games; in Delhi in 2010, Glasgow 2014 and the Gold Coast in Australia in 2018, where she also had the honour as being Team Scotland's flag-bearer.

In a Great Britain and Northern Ireland vest, her 400m European title in 2014 was added to by 4x400m relay gold at the 2016 event, and in the 2013 European Indoor Championship.

It was in that event in which she picked up bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio - having also competed at London 2012 - whilst she enjoyed a number of other distinguished medal successes.

In her statement, Eilidh said: "I remember so clearly being nine years old and and joining Pitreavie Athletics Club as a bit of fun.

"Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined where the sport would take me over the next 25 years. Not all of it has been easy but my love for athletics has always been constant and still remains so to this day.

"Athletics has all my heart, focus and love but today I announce my retirement as a competitive athlete.

"I take with me so many amazing memories but, most importantly, I step away happy in the knowledge that this is the right time for me to go. I'm not saying it was an easy decision to make, but it was the right one and I am grateful I got to choose when it happened.

"The sport has brought me so much more than just medals. I have made lifelong friends, experienced incredible atmospheres, made history and even met my husband because of it."

She added: "What an adventure it has been and now I look forward to the next one, whatever it may be."

Highly respected by team-mates and rivals alike, Eilidh was also the British team captain for the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, and is currently the Scottish National Record holder for the 400m Hurdles (54.09 seconds in Monaco in July 2016).

She is also a record holder as part of the Women's 4x400m Relay team (from Gold Coast 2018), and holds the Scottish National Indoor Record for 400m (51.45 in Gothenburg in February 2013) and also as part of Women’s Indoor 4x400m (Glasgow in January 2014).

Mark Pollard, Head of Performance with Scottish Athletics, said: "It is fitting and hugely appropriate that as Eilidh retires from competitive athletics we say a huge ‘Thank You’.

"I offer that from both the national governing body but also I am sure on behalf of the wider sport in Scotland.

"It is safe to say Eilidh has made a massive contribution to our sport. This has been shown via her medals for Team Scotland as well as GB & NI, countless international circuit appearances and British Championship medals.

"But over a period of 25 years, from coming into the sport at nine, it has been about so much more than that. She’s a classic example of a youngster coming through the club system at Pitreavie AAC and then stepping up the levels and making it to the top of her sport.

"I would say a huge feature of Eilidh’s career has been her ability to maximise her talent thanks to hard work and dedication. That’s a key essence of our sport; can you be the best version of yourself?

"I’m certain that is something she would mention to younger athletes – alongside enjoyment and the social side of a club as the first steps.

"Eilidh took that on board and, equally, she never shied away from the fact that for a year or more after moving to Edinburgh for further education, her focus on athletics was not what it might have been. But her love of the sport brought her back to it soon enough.

"That commitment saw her give up a teaching career in Scotland and move away from her family to come under the coaching tutelage of Malcolm Arnold down south (in Bath). That was a key step in her progression to becoming a GB medallist and an Olympian.

"We would very much hope she won’t be lost to the sport. Eilidh already has some background roles – with Scottish Athletics and Athletics Trust Scotland – and I am certain in the coming months we will explore other possibilities.

"She has so much experience and knowledge to pass on and we would love to tap into that to help the next generation follow in her footsteps."