FOUR years is a long time to wait for redemption but judoka Sam Ingram believes his newly acquired maturity will help him win gold in Rio this summer.
Contesting the gold medal match in front of an electric British crowd at London 2012, Ingram fell just short in a tight contest against Cuba’s Jorge Hierrezuelo Marcillis.
Despite improving on his bronze from Beijing in 2008 taking home a silver medal was a bitter pill to swallow for the 30-year-old, who had felt destined to become Paralympic champion in the -90kg category.
And while results haven’t vastly improved since London, Ingram believes a more composed attitude to competition will serve him well.
“London was obviously the highlight for me but not just for the judo,” said Ingram. “I got a silver medal in London when I was hoping to win it, so it was enjoyable but sad for me!
“What I have done is probably matured somewhat since London. I’ve learnt that judo is not an equation sport, you can’t lift a certain weight and then on the day expect to replicate that.
“It is one of those sports where you have to get through to the final matches and then see what happens, anything can happen in the sport.
“When your back touches the floor, that is it, and that can happen through mistakes or whatever.
“Taking the result from London now I will try my best and see what happens. “That will put less pressure on myself and hopefully I’ll make it to the medal matches.
“I would say I am a better athlete but the results haven’t actually shown that. I’m definitely a better athlete but I just need to produce it on the day.”
If experiences in Beijing and London have taught Ingram anything it is that Paralympic sport’s competiveness has increased as much as its popularity.
And with a more philosophical outlook on his chances, he believes whoever stand on top of the podium would have certainly earned it.
“It is my third Games so I am getting more used to speaking to the media, dealing with the competition. It is always a pleasure to be part of a fantastic team.
“It is nice to see teams evolving. Eight years ago I was the youngest in my team but now I am the oldest.
“Judo is the fairest sport in that anyone can one but if you are one of the best, someone who isn’t seen as one of the best can still beat you, easily, so I have to be on my game.”
You can help #Supercharge ParalympicsGB to Rio 2016 and beyond. Show your support for the team and find out more at www.paralympics.org.uk/superchargewww.paralympics.org.uk/supercharge