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Jovtchev puts retirement thoughts on hold

Bulgaria's Jordan Jovtchev is seen with his coach at the men's gymnastics rings final in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Ol
Bulgaria's Jordan Jovtchev is seen with his coach at the men's gymnastics rings final in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Ol

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgarian gymnast Jordan Jovtchev has put his plan to retire on hold, saying he needs a rest before taking a final decision.

Jovtchev, who will turn 40 next February, became the first male gymnast to compete in six Olympics in London and even managed to squeeze into the rings final on Monday.

"I may continue," Jovtchev told Bulgarian media on Tuesday.

"I feel great at the moment, it was such an emotional competition. I'll take a break and then we'll see. Let's not speak with certainty.

"I'm really tired but at the same time I was in great shape in recent months despite the injuries," added Jovtchev. "Who knows, I could take part in the next championship."

Jovtchev - who stepped on the podium in a major tournament for the first time in 1995 - has won four Olympic medals and 13 at world championships.

Jovtchev, however, failed to win an Olympic gold.

The closest he got was in Athens in 2004 when he took silver in a memorable rings competition won by home Greek hope Dimosthenis Tampakos.

Arthur Zanetti became the first Brazilian to win an Olympic gymnastic title on Monday when he seized gold in the rings.

However, Jovtchev said that Chinese silver medalist Chen Yibing did enough to repeat his 2008 success.

"The Chinese didn't even twitch and I think he was the best," said Jovtchev, who is also the Bulgarian gymnastics federation president.

"The judges probably were looking for a little variety."

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Mark Meadows; mark.meadows@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging:; mark.meadows.reuters.com@reuters.net; +44 20 7542 7933; For all the latest; Olympic news go to http://www.reuters.com/london-olympics-2012)

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