RECORD-BREAKING powerlifter Mick Amey has called time on his glittering career.

The 69-year-old, a three-time Colchester Sports Personality of the Year runner-up, has dominated for three decades, shattering records and landing multiple world and European titles.

But the prospect of another operation - this time on his left elbow - has forced him to announce his retirement.

Amey, from Copford, bowed out in style with a hard-earned silver medal at the recent European Championships, in Romania.

And he believes now is the right time to call it a day; to proudly sit back and reflect on his years of success.

"I've been rebuilt more times than I care to remember, including operations on both shoulders and both knees," he said.

"But having found out I'd need another op on my elbow, I always knew this was going to be my final big competition.

"I'm not saying I'll never compete locally again but this is certainly the end in terms of the international stage.

"It's time to call it a day - my body is telling me that - and the constant training is taking its toll physically.

"I'm sad it's over because competing at this level has been such a big part of my life.

"But I'm also hugely proud and grateful for everything I've enjoyed and achieved.

"I've travelled the world and been part of the British team for 20 years.

"It's been a phenomenal ride."

Having only been given clearance to train eight weeks ago, Amey and coach Ashley travelled to Sibiu, in Romania, for the European Championships.

After arriving and barely getting four hours' sleep, Amey competed in the Masters Four 83kg class.

The 40-degree heat did not stop him posting lifts of 185kg in the squat, 105kg in the bench press and 222½kg in the deadlift, giving a total of 512½kg.

It was enough to earn him two gold and two silver medals but he was narrowly beaten overall by multiple world champion Janos Fabri, from Hungary.

Just 5kg separated the pair and Amey's total of 512½kg was the highest-ever achieved by a British lifter in the Masters Four 83kg category.

"After eight weeks of training, we surpassed our expectations in getting to the competition and being competitive," added Amey, who will be 70 in September and has been married to wife Mary for 50 years.

"Sadly, it wasn't quite enough to be champion, which would have been the perfect way to retire, but I was so pleased to have bowed out with a silver."

Former Stanway School student Amey, once a talented young footballer who had a trial at Colchester United, has enjoyed unprecedented success, including being a multiple British champion and record-holder, a former International Powerlifting Federation European champion and world number two (also in the IPF federation).

He has also won numerous titles under the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation umbrella.

"I've won everything there is to win in the sport, apart from being IPF world champion," said Amey, who started competing in 1993, a year after beginning training at Colchester's Hamiltons Fitness Centre.

"I've dominated and am so proud to be able to say that.

"I couldn't have done it without my boys and coaches, Ashley and Daniel.

"They've worked so hard to get me in this condition and we're a true team.

"I've always been involved in sport and it was after I started going to the gym regularly that I first got into powerlifting.

"I fell in love with it and fell in love with the people, who were always so encouraging and supportive.

"They were amazing and it was beautiful.

"There have been so many memories and highlights along the way and I feel sorry for people who only do a sport for a short amount of time, because you learn so much and grow along the way.

"More than anything, I've been so proud to represent and fly the flag for Colchester.

"The local support has been incredible and I'm grateful to so many people.

"They've helped me along the way and none of it would have been possible without that backing."

Amey is a fully qualified referee and coach and while he will no longer be gracing the international stage, he plans to stay involved.

"I'd love to help other people have the fun I've had," he said.