18 June 2019

Paralympian Sam Ingram announces judo retirement after 'very special' career

Two-time Paralympic medallist Sam Ingram admitted he has learnt a lot about himself during his illustrious judo career after announcing his retirement from the sport.

The 33-year-old claimed a sensational silver at London 2012 to add to the bronze medal he secured on his Paralympic debut at Beijing 2008 in the under 90kg category.

Ingram went on to represent his country again at Rio 2016, marking his third consecutive Games appearance, where he just missed out on the medals in fifth place.

But while he will not be competing at Tokyo 2020, Ingram’s love of the sport that has dominated his life for more than a decade means he will continue to remain heavily involved in judo.

“I have recently taken the decision to retire from competitive judo,” he said in a statement. “Other opportunities have arisen that will give me long term professional development away from performance sport.

“Although I am moving away from competitive judo, I am happy to say that I will still be heavily involved in the sport, specifically as a JudoScotland Regional Development Officer.

“I’ve had some very special times as a competitive Judoka and have learnt a lot about myself. The support I’ve had from my family and friends has been fantastic, but I’ve also experienced a tremendous amount of support from the wider judo community.

“My brother Joe, who also went to the 2012 Paralympics in London, was the person who got me into the sport and I’m so thankful for that. I knew the first time I tried judo that this was the sport for me.

“The competitive and physical nature of the sport was something I really enjoyed and I didn’t need to have perfect vision to take part.”

Hailing from Coventry, Ingram was born with the genetic eye condition known as corneal dystrophy, meaning he cannot see in colour and has reduced central vision.

Sam Ingram competing at Rio 2016

His consistent performances secured his position as the most decorated athlete on the British Judo Paralympic Programme, winning silver on four occasions at the World Championships.

Ingram also enjoyed success at the European Championships, where he achieved gold (2011 and 2013) and bronze (2010 and 2015) to bolster his impressive tally of medals.

And Ingram, who clinched silver on the world stage in 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2018, praised the sport of judo for being one of the most inclusive to participate in.

“As a sport, judo in Great Britain has long been at the forefront of inclusive behaviour; we have people of different genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and race,” he added.

“Those with and without disabilities all training, competing and developing as Judoka under one banner, and I’m very proud to be part of this.”

British Judo performance director Nigel Donohue said: “Sam has been a fantastic Judoka for Paralympic Judo and British Judo. He has had an outstanding career culminating in competing in three Paralympic Games and winning a bronze and silver medal.

“Additionally, Sam has become an icon in Paralympic Judo and one of the standout Judoka’s over the last 10 years.

“We wish Sam all the very best in his future endeavours and believe in whatever direction Sam takes in his career, he will prove to be a success.

“British Judo should be extremely proud of Sam as an athlete, a person and also for his achievements in Paralympic Judo.”

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