Alice Schlesinger will miss the thrill of high-intensity sporting competition but says the time is right to focus on her education after announcing her retirement from judo.
Schlesinger retires after competing on the international stage for over 15 years - winning three European Championship and one World Championship bronze medal while representing Israel, before claiming a fourth European bronze in a Great Britain gi in 2017.
She also competed at three Olympic Games - reaching the quarter-finals in the half-middleweight (63kg) division at London 2012 before losing to eventual champion Urska Zolnir of Slovenia - and after switching to represent GB at the end of 2014, she won silver at the European Games in Minsk in 2019.
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And while the 32-year-old admits that elements of being an international judoka will be hard to replicate, she has found another passion, as she plans to study for a master’s degree in clinical psychology.
"From a social aspect, I will miss travelling with the team and meeting up with my team-mates after not seeing them in so long, as I live in Israel," explained Schlesinger.
"From a judo perspective I will miss getting on the mat and fighting, giving it my all and having that exhausted feeling at the end of the fight.
"One of the reasons for stepping away from the mat now is to give myself the best possible chance of being accepted on the master’s degree next year.
"I have to finish my psychology degree this year to be considered, so I will be swapping my training for studying.
"I started studying psychology three years ago and I consider myself extremely lucky to have found something that I am just as passionate about, and I now want to see how far I can get in this aspect of my life."
Born and raised in Herzliya, Israel, Schlesinger competed for her country of birth until 2014, when she chose to represent Great Britain - the nationality of her mother.
And one of her favourite judo memories comes from the early days of wearing a GB gi, as she won the Dusseldorf Grand Prix back in 2015.
"It was my second competition for Great Britain and came after not competing for over two and a half years," said Schlesinger.
"I remember beating Tina Trstenjak [who went on to win Olympic gold at Rio 2016] and making the final where I faced Munkhzaya Tsedevsuren of Mongolia, a girl who I had lost to quite a few times before.
"I won the final and can remember feeling so excited, winning a gold medal in my first major competition for GB gave me such an amazing feeling." Sportsbeat 2021
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