Diving: Chinese Olympic champion He Zi retires at 26

Chinese Olympic diving champion He Zi has retired.
Chinese Olympic diving champion He Zi has retired.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/CHINESE NATIONAL DIVING TEAM
China's He Zi (left) and Wu Minxia pose with their gold medals during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
China's He Zi (left) and Wu Minxia pose with their gold medals during the London 2012 Olympic Games. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/CULTURAL OFFICE OF THE CHINESE EMBASSY IN BANGLADESH

Beijing (AFP) - Chinese Olympic diving champion He Zi has reluctantly retired aged 26 citing a nagging foot injury and her joy at expecting to become a mother this year.

He, who won gold in the synchronised 3m springboard competition at the 2012 London Olympics, said she had taken an 11-month break after the 2016 Rio Games.

But she said on her Weibo microblogging account that her injury returned recently after a three-hour walk and she could not even step on the floor barefoot after staying home for five days.

"Sometimes when I cannot sleep at night I always think about continuing training, but how? (The injury) relapses even when I walk. How can I continue a large amount of diving every day?" she wrote.

"Don't ask me why I chooe to leave this early under such good condition, or whether I would regret or feel pity, my only regret is that I have not fully demonstrated my value."

The diver earned a silver medal in Rio, but the moment is best remembered by the marriage proposal made by fellow Olympic champion Qin Kai, also a diver, who got down on one knee just after she stepped off the podium.

"I have fought for this diving career for 20 years and I should start fighting for my own small family from now on. Last year I was an athlete but this year I am a wife and going to be a mother," He wrote on Weibo.