Game Changers talks to Paralympics sprinter Sam Ruddock

Last Updated: 28/01/14 4:19pm

Darren and Di meet Paralympic sprinter Sam Ruddock in the Game Changers studio.
Darren and Di meet Paralympic sprinter Sam Ruddock in the Game Changers studio.

Sam Ruddock revealed how he took just six months to go from playing American Football at university to representing Great Britain in the Paralympics in London on this week's Game Changers.

The 23-year-old sprinter, who competed in the 100m and 200m in the Paralympics in 2012, joined Darren and Di in the studio to chat about coping with his cerebral palsy, running at the Olympic Stadium and his aspirations for the future.

He revealed how he made the dramatic switch from student to GB sprinter in 2012 and how a chance meeting with his now coach set him on the path to the Paralympics.

"I didn't progress into full-time training until March and I ran my first race in April," he told Game Changers. "So to go from running my first 100m in April to the 100m start line in the Paralympic Games in August was absolutely incredible. To go the Games in London was an absolute dream. It was amazing.

"I started out playing American football for the Loughborough University student team and I was talent spotted there by the coach I have now. We were doing a 40-yard dash and he spotted me. He was there with his own sprint group and he said, 'do you fancy trying sprinting?'

"Having cerebral palsy in my legs I never thought that I could do very well but he said, 'do you know there are events that disabled people compete in athletics?' I never knew it existed so I thought, let's give it a go."

Ruddock is now setting his sights on competing at the Paralympics in Brazil in 2016 and hopes another few years of training will take him to the next level.

"You can't take an opportunity like London and not follow it through with Rio so I have to commit to this now," he said.

"I have only been doing this for two years and in those two years I have been to the Paralympic Games and a World Championships so I am still learning to sprint whilst competing at the highest level. I still have a long way to go but Rio is definitely in my mind."