Race walker Olive Loughnane has announced her retirement from competitive athletics at the age of 36.

The Loughrea AC athlete represented Ireland on the international stage for over 12 years, with the highlight being the silver medal she won in the 20k walk at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

She competed in four Olympic Games - 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. In Beijing; she finished in seventh place in the 20k walk in a personal best of 1:27:45.

Loughnane also represented Ireland at five consecutive editions of the World Championships, winning a silver medal at the 2009 event.

The 36-year-old is also the current Irish record holder in the 10k Walk in a time of 43:22 and won multiple National titles over 3k/5k/10k/20k distances.

Speaking today Loughnane said the decision to retire was always going to be tough.

"I can be happy with everything I have achieved and I have no regrets. I want to thank Athletics Ireland, the Irish Sports Council and the Olympic Council for all their help and support throughout my career.”

Athletics Ireland CEO John Foley said Loughnane had made an outstanding contribution to Irish Athletics.

"Her achievements at national and international level have been of the highest quality. From her excellent achievement in Beijing to her incredible performance in Berlin, she has been one of Ireland’s best. On behalf of Athletics Ireland and myself I want to wish her all the best for the future."