Ian Rose won the Judo World Championships in 1995 as well as taking bronze at the Atlanta and silver at the Athens Games.

An Interview with Ian Rose

Interviewer Marion Lowe, October 2012

Ian talks about the importance of judo in developing his self confidence and identity as a visually-impaired person in this interview. Here he speaks about being introduced to judo at the age of 7,

Within three months the teasing stopped… I now had this new confidence, this new self-esteem, I wanted to be Ian again. I liked myself because I’d found something I was good at. 

Download a pdf of Ian's interview here

Extract from the interview in which Ian explains what happened after his disappointment in finishing last at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, his misfortune at missing out on competing in London 2012 but how he still played an important role in those Games…..

 

But just after Beijing that hit home again – the next games are London – I can’t miss that – if I had half a chance of competing in London, I would be silly not to try. So I took a year or so out and went back into work, but then an opportunity presented itself to me at the end of 2010 and the Programme Manager for the Paralympic Team for British Judo approached me and [said] ‘We’re in process of preparing the Paralympic Team for London – are you sure you don’t want to do this’ and I was at that time really sure I didn’t want to compete. But actually I really didn’t because I was in my comfort zone and enjoying work.

We had a frank conversation and this thought that I had when I got off the plane from Beijing if I’ve got half a chance of competing in London, I’ve got to take that opportunity because it will never happen again in my lifetime – so I took it and started training. I went to my first International competition since taking time off after Beijing and I got Silver at the US Open in Miami. I was very nervous and it was very tough, but that was to be expected because it was my first one back.

 

I started training for the European Championships which were going to be held in November 2011 and this was the competition I had to compete in, and I didn’t have to do that well in it, just step on the judo mat. I had to tick the box that said I had to compete in a major international event within a year before the games. The European Championship was the only opportunity.

I was doing well in the training camps; I was absolutely taking apart the guys who were the medal threats in the Europeans, including the 150 kilo French guy, so I was doing well.

Then two weeks before the Championship I snapped a ligament in my knee in training. It happens, nothing I could do about it, and that was me done. There was an operation which needed at least 9 months rehab, and because I was now 40, I’d probably need 18 months to come back from, so I travelled to Dartford where the British Judo based the elite team from, (and I will always remember the train trip as one of the longest I’d taken because I was going to discuss my future and discuss me competing in London), because they may have been able to get me through because of extraordinary circumstances in some way but I sat down with the Coach and Performance Manager, and we had a frank conversation in which we were all agreed – it just wasn’t going to happen. So I accepted it, I had the operation and did some rehab to get walking again, and half way through 2012 the biggest honour in sport was given to me apart from competing – they asked me to carry the Paralympic Torch in Tring.

Round about 1.00am in the morning and there were hundreds of people out that night 6 deep on the pavement, it was an amazing honour and an amazing feeling and the beginning of an amazing 2 weeks of my life. I finished that, went home about 3.00am, up early the next day because I had been asked to be a performer at the Opening Ceremony, and if you watch out for the six retired Paralympians who fly in and fly out doing somersaults and tricks and moves – I was one of them – what a massive honour.

But I would have given that all up to compete in London and have a last shot at winning gold, but it wasn’t meant to be.