Paralympic judoka Ingram targets able-bodied competition at Glasgow 2014
Monday, 17 December 2012
December 17 - Visually impaired judoka Sam Ingram, who won a silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, has revealed he is looking to complete against able-bodied athletes at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The 27-year-old is originally from Coventry but now lives in Edinburgh where he trains with Scotland's elite judo players.
Ingram (pictured top) was born with the genetic eye condition conal dystrophy which means he cannot see in colour and has no central vision.
But after winning bronze at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics and silver at London 2012, Ingram believes he can become the first disabled judoka to switch to able-bodied competition by representing Scotland at Glasgow 2014.
"If I was selected for Glasgow, I'd prove to myself that all the hard work's paying off," Ingram told Sky News.
"I think I'd prove to other people that just because you have a disability, it doesn't mean that you've got to be pigeon-holed or limited and that you can break through.
"People who have been told they'll never walk again have confounded the predictions – it is possible.
"For people with visual impairment, if you can cope with the guys who can see perfectly well, there's no reason why you shouldn't compete against them.
"I might have a slight disadvantage but, hopefully, I've got other advantages.
"If I make it to Glasgow, and it goes well, you never what's going to happen – maybe the Olympics in Rio after that."
The main difference between Paralympic and non-disabled judo comes at the start of a fight.
When visually-impaired judo players begin a contest they are already gripped onto each other's jacket.
In a non-disabled fight, they begin apart and the early exchanges are usually taken up with trying to secure a grip on the opponent.
"In Olympic-style judo, when you begin grip-fighting, you have got to see where your opponent is and that's why it's a little bit difficult for people with visual impairment," said Ingram.
Although Ingram would be the first in judo to take the step from disabled to non-disabled competition at a Commonwealth Games, he wouldn't be the first British Paralympian to do so.
Cyclist Sarah Storey and archer Danielle Brown, who are both Paralympic champions, completed in able-bodied events for England at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Brown won a gold medal in the women's team compound event alongside teammates Nicky Hunt and Nichola Simpson to become the first Paralympian to win a Commonwealth Games gold in an able-bodied event.
Only able-bodied judo will feature at Glasgow 2014, although there will be more medals and events for disabled athletes than ever before at a Commonwealth Games.
April 2012: Three sets of brothers included in latest ParalympicsGB selection list
November 2011: Sam Ingram captures Britain's second IBSA VI European Championship title
March 2010: Ingram brothers strike silver in Turkey
February 2010: Ingram leads British medal charge in Germany
August 2009: Ingram on form as Rose fails to bloom