Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin, who two years ago won his country’s first-ever Olympic swimming gold medal, said Wednesday he will consider retiring after the Asian Games.
The 23-year-old became a national hero in the former Soviet state after a stunning victory in the 200 metres breaststroke in Rio.
But he suffered an almighty Olympic hangover and admits he is struggling to motivate himself after a miserable run of form and niggling injuries.
“I think maybe I’m going to finish my swimming career,” Balandin told AFP after placing second in his 100m heat and qualifying second overall for Wednesday’s final in Jakarta.
“I won everything I wanted in swimming — I just don’t find new motivation for swimming.
“For my country I’m a hero, so many people know my face and it’s great,” added the beefy Kazakh, who withdrew from Tuesday’s 200m breaststroke with a sore ankle.
“But I’ve had some trouble with my health, I fractured the ankle — it’s been so bad. After the injury, for three or four weeks I didn’t come to the swimming pool.”
Balandin stormed home from lane eight to win the Olympic 200m title in Brazil.
His sensational gold medal was a source of huge national pride in Kazakhstan — once lampooned by the movie “Borat” and its bumbling main character in his ill-fitting Soviet-era suit and “mankini”.