Contrary to earlier indications today, Sonia O'Sullivan will not be retiring at the BUPA Great Ireland Run at the Phoenix Park in April.

However, O'Sullivan has signalled that this will be her final year in competitive athletics.

The Cobh native is currently training at her base near Melbourne in Australia and she will be targetting a few track races in the summer among them probably the Cork City Sports on 30 June.

Ultimately, O'Sullivan hopes to make the Irish team to compete at the European Cross-Country Championships in Madrid in December, which would be her last ever competitive race.

O'Sullivan's decision to end her competitive career marks the closing of one of the greatest chapters in the history of Irish athletics.

It is 17 years since the then 21-year-old O'Sullivan competed at the 1990 European Championships in Spit. She finished 11th on that occasion but it marked the beginning of an international career that brought huge success on the international stage.

O'Sullivan went on to establish herself as one of the leading female runners for more than a decade, winning World Championship gold in 1995 as well as three European Championship golds and two World Cross-Country titles.

However, her greatest moment came in Sydney in 2000 when she took Olympic silver in the women's 5000 metres.

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern paid tribute to O'Sullivan and said: 'There is no doubt that Sonia is among the finest athletes this country has ever produced. Her achievements in a career spanning almost 20 years have brought huge pride and enjoyment to Irish people all over the globe.

'Her performance in securing the silver medal in the 5000 metres at the Sydney Olympics epitomised her fighting spirit and touched the hearts of the nation.

'Sonia has been a role model for our young people and a great ambassador for Cobh and Ireland. I wish her well in her retirement.'

You can see the Great BUPA Ireland Run live on RTÉ Two on Sunday, 15 April.