DIY retailer B&Q has terminated its sponsorship deal with the British Olympic Association because of the global economic downturn.

The retailer has sponsored Team GB since 2004 and was expected to renew its contract for the 2012 London Olympics, but said the “tough retail market” has led it to withdraw funding.

B&Q sponsored around a dozen athletes who could work in B&Q stores on a part-time basis, giving them the chance to fit their work around training and competition.

B&Q external relations manager Jacqueline Caston said: “We enjoyed great internal, motivational success through our partnership with Team GB, but decided not to continue the partnership past the contractual end date of December 31 2008.

"In a tough retail market, our focus is on delivering great products for customers and direct value to our shareholders.

"We wish everyone at London 2012 the best in delivering what I'm sure will be a fantastic event in four years time."