September 24th, 2016

Third chance at goal for Coventry judo star Sam Ingram at Rio Paralympics

Third chance at goal for Coventry judo star Sam Ingram at Rio Paralympics Third chance at goal for Coventry judo star Sam Ingram at Rio Paralympics
Updated: 5:40 pm, Feb 17, 2016

PARALYMPIC star Sam Ingram is hoping to make it third time lucky in Rio this summer as he bids to complete his medals collection by winning gold.

The 30-year-old has been selected for his third consecutive Games along with debutants Jono Drane, Chris Skelley and Jack Hodgson.

And Ingram will be looking to reach the podium for a third time having won bronze in Beijing back in 2008 and four years ago he finished runner-up at London 2012.

“Winning is my aim but all I can do is put myself in the best position to win,” Ingram told the Observer.

“I know I can beat all of the people in my field but at the same time I am human and I can also lose to them too.

“There’s a couple of tasty Ukrainians who are pretty naughty and there’s also an American boys who is dangerous too so I can’t take any fighter for granted.

“I think there’s a good possibility of me coming away with gold this time around but I just want to be able to represent myself and Great Britain in the best way I can.

“I’d be disappointed if I came away from Rio knowing I’d let myself down because I’d done something stupid.

“When I went to Beijing there was no pressure on me and I think looking back I was having a lot more fun and enjoying myself.

“Now I do feel there is more pressure on me but I think it’s because I’m doing it for different reasons. I want to get to the final because I’ve developed as an athlete and I’ve matured a lot too.”

As the more experienced judoka of the four, Coventry-born Ingram was the obvious choice to lead the GB team.

And he is relishing the prospect of being the more experienced member of the team this time around.

“A lot of experienced people have been saying that I started as the youngest in the team and now I’m the oldest so it’s only natural that I take on the role as leader and team captain and hopefully I can lead by example.

“I’m going to lead by example but these are clever young lads. They will make mistakes because they’re young guys but they’re nice guys.

“I’m not some preacher. I won’t tell them what to do and what is right and wrong. However if I think I’ve got a valid opinion I’ll give it and use my experience to pass that on.

“I wouldn’t say the team is stronger than the one we had in London 2012 four years ago, but all four people on the team have a chance of coming away with a medal.

“We had a team of five in London but this time around I think we’ve got more of a chance of bringing home more medals, but judo is a mad sport and anything can happen.”

The GB judo team will head out to training camps in Brazil and Japan in the build up to this year’s Games.

It will be a third and perhaps a final chance for Ingram to perform on the biggest stage of all and he is determined to make it another one to remember.

He added: “The atmosphere was very special at London 2012 because it was obviously our home Games, but I really enjoyed Beijing because that was a great Games too and it was also my first.

“You don’t know what the Games are going to be like until the event itself when you get to taste the atmosphere but I’m sure Rio 2016 will be amazing too because judo is a very popular sport in Brazil.

“I think it gets less exciting each time I represent Great Britain and instead it becomes more of an honour.

“It doesn’t excite me like it used to perhaps in 2008, but you start to think more about what it means to wear the GB colours and it will certainly be an honour again to represent my country at a third Paralympics.”

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