A former European pole vault medallist has decided to quit the sport, possibly to pursue a sex change operation.

Yvonne Buschbaum said that a persistent achilles tendon injury and a feeling that she was “emotionally in the wrong body” have contributed to her decision to end her career.

The 27-year-old said on her website: “For many years, I have had the feeling I am in the wrong body.

“Those who know me have seen a clear fault. I feel like a man and yet must live my life in the body of a woman.

“I would not like to be misjudged any longer.

“I am conscious of the fact that transsexuality is a difficult topic, but I don’t want to be involved in a game of hide-and-seek with the truth.

“I appeal to the public’s understanding, to respect my decision and not draw any wrong conclusions.”

The German, who won bronze at the 1998 European Championships and came sixth in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 also added: “I am just daring to show what is the real me.”

Trans people are not very visible in sport, but earlier this year, former tennis star Renne Richards admitted to Reuters that she regretted the fame she received from her gender re-assignment surgery in 1975.

In April Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner revealed

he was about to undergo a sex reassignment operation and later returned to the Times as a female sports writer.