Interview with Paralympian Ben Quilter
PUBLISHED: 12:54 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:35 20 February 2013
Paralympian Ben Quilter speaks about this 2012 Olympic dream...
In the second of our series on people to watch for the new decade, Maheesha Kottegoda meets paralympian Ben Quilter who is an example to us all...
Facingyour previously triumphant nemesis in hand-to-hand combat is challenge enough. Include the added pressure of an audience of thousands who have paid to see the bout and millions of viewers globally and you are close. Finally, throw in a complete loss of central vision. This is paralympian Ben Quilters moment of truth.
He says: I get extremely nervous. Initially I dont want to let people down and want to give a good performance. Sometimes you can be winning and make one tiny mistake and its all over.
At Beijing, Ben secured his world ranking as fifth in the world, narrowly missing bronze to historic rival, Azerbaijans Ramin Ibrahimov. He says: He beat me in the final of the European and Beijing. He is haunting me the most. He keeps coming back and beating me so he is on the hit list. Today, Ben trains in judo four to six hours a day in the hope of winning enough competitions this year to qualify in the under 60kg category at the 2012 Olympics. He says: Hopefully it will be my best chance of a medal. Ill be 30, peaking physically and have enough experience to give a good performance. The 28-year-old from Woodingdean, Brighton, has been training most of his life. By the age of seven, he was fighting competitively but gradually he began to lose his sight to a degenerative genetic disorder. With only peripheral vision, Bens sight is classified as partially sighted or B3. He says: My sight deteriorated slowly, my judo adapted and life adapted day to day. My fighting is based around grips. Once you have a grip, sight is not massively important. You can sort of gauge where they are. Ultimately, Ben hopes to be a physiologist or coach after completing a Masters degree at Chichester University.