Nathalie von Siebenthal is retiring at the relatively young age of 26 ©NordicFocus

Cross-country skier Nathalie von Siebenthal has decided to end her career, as she looks to focus on life away from the sport.

One of Switzerland's top long-distance athletes, von Siebenthal had taken a break from training and renounced her participation at regular mountain trail run competitions in Switzerland.

She underwent intensive preparation for the World Championships in Seefeld, but felt she needed a change.

"The decision to take a break in spring was really important for me.

"In autumn I felt like my body was ready to go fully into training again.

"After a few days, however, I had to admit that neither my body, nor my mind wanted to continue.

"Now I am sure that resigning from the professional sport is the right think to do for me."

Nathalie von Siebenthal was u-23 skiathlon world champion in 2015 ©Instagram
Nathalie von Siebenthal was u-23 skiathlon world champion in 2015 ©Instagram

It's been an outstanding career for von Siebenthal, who was under-23 world champion in skiathlon in Almaty in 2015.

The 26-year-old has also enjoyed more than 20 top-10 classifications in World Cup competitions, two Olympic diplomas and three top-seven classifications in individual races at Nordic World Ski Championships,

"I take along wonderful memories from the World Cup which will remain a part of me for the rest of my life.

"Cross-country skiing taught me essential aspects of life.

"Thanks to the sport I was also able to travel the world, but especially the bond and friendship with my team colleagues as we shared ups and downs is something I will never forget.

"I will for sure cheer for everyone by watching them on TV!"