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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Olympic beach volleyball champion Jonas Reckermann retired from the sport due to a back injury on Thursday, five months after his biggest sporting success at the London Olympics.
Reckermann, the 2009 world champion, partnered Julius Brink to become the first European men's pair to win Olympic gold in their sport. Reckermann also won two European titles in his career.
"This is a difficult decision to take but you cannot buy health and so at the end of the day this is a priority," he said in a statement.
"I would have liked to continue competing with Julius and defending our title on the Copacabana beach (at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics) would have been great," said the 33-year-old.
Medical tests in December, however, revealed his chronic back injury would create irreversible damage if he continued training and playing at top level.
Brink will now team up with former training partner Sebastian Fuchs.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Clare Fallon