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Chantal Petitclerc joins UK Athletics as coach for 2012 Paralympics

Canadian Paralympic athlete Chantal Petitclerc poses with the five gold medals she won at the Beijing Paralympic Games after arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, September 18, 2008.

MIKE CASSESE/Mike Cassese/Reuters

Canada's most decorated track and field athlete is joining the United Kingdom's athletics program as a coach.

Montreal's Chantal Petitclerc accepted a position with U.K. Athletics on Monday for the upcoming 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

"Accepting this position was a very difficult decision to make given my intense pride and loyalty to Canada as a Paralympic athlete," Petitclerc said in a statement. "However, this opportunity is one that will provide me with unique international coaching education and experience that will be invaluable both on a personal and professional level as I make the transition from a retired athlete to a full-time career in sport."

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Petitclerc joins her former personal coach Peter Eriksson, who is now the head coach of U.K. Athletics' Paralympic program.

Petitclerc was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. The retired wheelchair racer earned 21 Paralympic medals for Canada — 14 gold, five silver and two bronze — over five Games between 1992 and 2008.

She also won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as The Canadian Press female athlete of the year in 2008.

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