THREE-TIME Olympic gold medallist Andy Triggs Hodge believes he chose the right time to end his successful career.

The 37-year-old had been rowing competitively since 2000 and was a part of Great Britain’s victorious men’s eight in Rio.

However, saying goodbye to the sport in August proved easy for the former Oxford Blue, who was only living off a £26,000 lottery grant.

Now in full-time employment as a programme manager at Thames Tideway Tunnel, Triggs Hodge, who has two children under four, is certain the career change was the right move.

He said: “I look at how British Rowing has changed over the last 20 years and there are certain frustrations with that which made leaving rowing quite easy.

“All of these rowers are doing an amazing job for their country, yet they are expected to live off a grant which will just about pay off a half-decent rent, put food on your table, bills, and a little bit of spending money.

“There is no security for the future and some guys are going to wake up when they retire and they are going to be screwed.”

When it comes to funding from UK Sport, rowing receives more than the other Olympic and Paralympic disciplines.

Although it faces a £500,000 cut from Rio, £32.1m will be invested in rowing for Tokyo 2020.

But Triggs Hodge, from Checkendon, who also won Olympic gold in Beijing and London, still feels more can be done.

He said: “I want to be able to put a bit of money towards my family, but if I had kept rowing for another four years then there is no way I would be able to do that.

“I think they can be doing a bit more to support the athletes and make sure we don’t leave the sport begrudging them.

“If they support a little bit I will bet your bottom dollar we will give back in the years to come.

“At the moment, I don’t owe British Rowing anything.”

Triggs Hodge’s exploits in Brazil have got him on the shortlist for sportsman of the year for next month’s 2016 Oxfordshire Sports Awards, held at the Kassam Stadium.

A previous winner in 2012, he hopes to have inspired the next generation.

He said: “It is very rewarding as an athlete to be given some recognition for your hard work.

“I hope we can use that for the benefit of the rest of the community to support new ventures in sport.

“It is all part of a bigger picture, a great honour, and with that comes responsibility.”