Fifth in shot put in heat of Doha
In the humid heat of Doha on Sunday last weekend, Rugby born athlete Sam Ruddock threw two lifetime bests of 13.49m and 13.75m in rounds four and five, to finish fifth overall in his debut appearance in field events at the IPC World Championships.
He initially struggled in the opening rounds to find the form that helped him claim the British record for F35 Shot Put in May of this year but soon rose to the occasion as the competition reached it climax.
“It was like being in a heavyweight title fight, throw after throw, round after round, the level of the competition just grew bigger and bigger,” said Sam.
“It was the jelly babies I found in my bag before round four certainly helped me focus on the performance I knew I could deliver,” he revealed. Sam said he was so taken aback by his own feats, he didn’t fully acknowledge at first how outstanding his competitors had been.
“I didn’t realise what I had been a part of until looking at the results back in the hotel room. Everybody in the final broke 13 metres, which is astonishing considering only three of them in the world, myself included, had thrown that far before arriving in Doha!”
The defending European Champion, Russian Alexander El’Min was unable to convert his continental title into global bragging rights, his best effort (13.87m) agonisingly close to the gold winning throw of 14.02 by Iranian Seyed Hosseinipanah.
Although he was delighted to have proven his credentials as a championship performer, Sam was disappointed to not capitalise on the opportunity to grab a medal. “In round six, I was high on adrenaline and had a chance to catch the leaders but I think that situation was such an alien one that my technique fell apart,” he admitted. “To be only 13cm away from a bronze medal was hard to swallow but in hindsight, it is a solid indication of what could happen for us in Rio next year.”
Again, as with all of his performances, Sam was eager to thank those who have kept him going in the fight to the top of the podium in Rio next year. “Our team is amazing, calculated and relentless in the pursuit of our goal, my coaches, my family, SportAid and British Athletics are all on the same page and it will pay greater dividends next season”. Sam will go into what he calls “hibernation” for a few weeks before returning to training for the 2015-2016 outdoor season, which will begin with domestic competition and the IPC European Championships in Grosetto, Italy.