Watch out for Sam in sprints

Sam Ruddock (picture by Michael Sibbons)
Sam Ruddock (picture by Michael Sibbons)

WATCH out for Rugby sprinter Sam Ruddock in the Paralympics tomorrow (Friday).

He takes to the track in London’s 80,000 seater stadium around 8.30pm in the first round of the T35 100m, for athletes whose balance and co-ordination are affected by cerebral palsy.

And there will be plenty of support for the rookie runner, who took up the sport just eight months ago.

Sam was only spotted by sprint coach Joe McDonald just before Christmas during American football training at Loughborough University.

Until then he had never thought about becoming a sprinter, let alone competing at the Paralympics, with the eyes of the world - as well as friends and family - on him.

But since then it has been a whirlwind of coaching, racing, hard work and dedication to earn selection to the Great Britain team for London 2012. Being so new to the sport, he had originally expected to be aiming for a place in Rio 2016, when he should be reaching his peak.

Sam, 22, who considers it a great honour to be representing his country, said: “Training has been going really well, my short sprint times keep coming down and I’m focused on doing my best.

“As an unknown in Paralympic sprinting, I’m very excited to cause a few shocks in the 100 and 200 finals.”

The 100m final is at 7.45pm on Saturday and then Sam has just a few days to recouperate before the 200m, which starts on Wednesday evening from 9.55pm, with the final the following day (Thursday, September 6) at 8.30pm.

Sam grew up in Rugby, attending Northlands School, then St Marie’s Infants and Juniors before his family moved to Devon for a while.

He returned to Bishop Wulstan School and won a full scholarship to Rugby School.

He went to university at Loughborough and graduated in June with a first in International Relations.