By Mike Rowbottom

craig fallon_31-01-12January 31 - Craig Fallon (pictured), the former world and European judo champion, has retired from competition to pursue a coaching career in the Olympic sport.

The 29-year-old returned to action a year ago after an exile from judo after the Beijing 2008 Games - where his hopes of following a disappointing Athens Games in 2004 were frustrated as he finished seventh - and moved up to compete in the -66kg category.

He was knocked out of last year's World Championships in the first round.

Fallon, who in 2005 became only the third British male to claim a world title after Neil Adams in 1981 and Graeme Randall in 1999, took gold at the 2011 British Trials and bronze at the Russian European Cup with his last medal coming in July as he won the German European Cup.

The British Judo Association Lifetime Member started his career at Wolverhampton Judo Club before moving to Hardy Spicer 83 Judo Club at the age of 14.

When the opportunity came to train full-time as part of the National Academy at Bisham Abbey Fallon moved south but remained very much part of his club and still is today.

The 2006 European champion, who has recently staged highly-popular training seminars across the country, said: "I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career including my coaches, family, friends and teammates."

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