Sporting Ambassador Sam Ruddock to captain British team at Europeans

Cerebral Palsy Sport’s Sporting Ambassador Sam Ruddock has been appointed one of the captains for the British Athletics team competing at the IPC European Championships.

Holly Neill (coach: Andrew Roda) and Sam Ruddock (Jim Edwards) will captain the British Athletics team at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy starting tomorrow morning.

After a personal best in the IPC Athletics World Championships F35 shot put final last October led him to fifth position, Sam has gone from strength to strength in the event.  His upbeat attitude and stature within the team has seen him earn the role of men’s team captain. Ruddock competed over the sprints at the Paralympic Games in 2012 but four years on, he has progressed into one of the most competitive shot putters within the F35 event and he is looking for a strong result in Grosseto.

On his captaincy, the Loughborough-based athlete commented: “I am beyond proud – to be told I would captain this squad during this year was such a shock. When Paula (Dunn) pulled me to one side to tell me I genuinely thought I was in trouble. I had to ask her to repeat the question just to make sure I wasn’t hearing things!”

A modest Ruddock added: “There is so much experience and talent on this team – I would put them ahead of me in terms of their nature and the way they act. Of course I’m proud, to even represent Great Britain is an honour but to captain your country is something really special.

“I have to thank my coach Jim Edwards for his continued support and those who are always in my corner. They have helped me to get into this position and I hope I can continue to make them proud.”

Head Coach Paula Dunn spoke about why she chose Neill and Ruddock to lead the 48 strong-team at the IPC Athletics European Championships.

Dunn said: “Holly and Sam both bring great qualities to the role of team captain. Both have valuable experience on a number of GB teams and have a strong mind set and attitude which will inspire the rest of the squad.

“The IPC Athletics European Championships will be a key stepping stone for a number of athletes targeting the Rio Paralympics later this year but also acts as an enriching experience for those team members looking ahead to the World ParaAthletics Championships in London during 2017 and Tokyo 2020. It is an exciting team and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform on the European stage.”

The action gets underway on Saturday 11 June with seven Brits in finals competing for European medals.

Congratulations Sam and best of luck in the competition!