By Gary Anderson

New Zealand's Fiona Southorn has announced her retirement from international competition ©Getty ImagesParalympic cyclist Fiona Southorn has announced her retirement following a career that spanned two decades and was highlighted by a bronze medal at London 2012.

The 46-year-old claimed bronze in the women's C5 three kilometre pursuit two years ago in what was her third appearance at the Games following on from Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

Her final international appearance came at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Para-cycling Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, earlier this year.

At the 2012 edition of the Championships in Los Angeles she claimed bronze, also in the three kilometre pursuit event.

That year proved the most fruitful of her career as she claimed pursuit gold at the Oceania Para-cycling Track Championships, as well as picking up a silver in the 500 metre time trial.

Fiona Southorn celebrates her bronze medal at London 2012 ©Getty ImagesFiona Southorn celebrates her bronze medal at London 2012 ©Getty Images

Southorn, whose left arm is slightly shorter than her right and has no fingers on her left hand,, had originally retired in 2008 following the Games in Beijing, but returned to the New Zealand team in 2010 for another shot at Paralympic glory in London.

However, a second return from retirement cannot be totally ruled out as she is currently training and competing in triathlons.

With Para-triathlon being introduced for the first time at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, the veteran may yet decide to aim for a fourth appearance at the Games. 

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