Ridgeon on track for Atlanta team

Norman Fox witnesses the triumphant return of a never-say-die athlete

Jon Ridgeon's sunny disposition, that has defied four years of painful retirement and two previous attempted comebacks to top-class athletics, glowed even more warmly in Cardiff yesterday when he won a quick 400 metres hurdles to confirm that he is ready to take his place in Britain's Olympic team in Atlanta. He was amazed.

Although he had to hold off a stern challenge from last year's fastest Briton over the distance, Peter Crampton, he did so confidently though not comfortably in the presentable time of 49.87 seconds. From a distance, his hurdling looked impressive throughout a race that he started in front, leaving Crampton to do a great deal of hard work merely to get on terms approaching the last bend.

Ridgeon belied his lack of competitive edge by holding off Crampton, who knows there is now competition for Olympic vests. Not long ago Ridgeon would never have predicted such a situation. "There was a time when I was told I would never run again, let alone get an Olympic place."

He felt that this year he needed all the advantages of warm-weather training. "Here, though, it was windy and it felt cold to me, having been in South Africa. The wind messed up my stride pattern - it was very ugly. Then I looked at the time and I couldn't believe it. I was climbing those hurdles."

With Tessa Sanderson and now 29-year-old Ridgeon both in Britain's team for the Europa Cup in Madrid next weekend, there are obviously expanding possibilities for anyone else contemplating coming out of retirement. Lynn Davies, who became the first Welsh Olympic champion back in 1964, says he is not tempted.

Like Sanderson, Ridgeon was a World Cup silver medal winner. He was also second, ahead of Colin Jackson, in the 1987 World Championships. Unlike Sanderson, he has spent the last few years thinking more about a career in entertainment, though in his case not pantomime but television presentation.

He was 25 when achilles-tendon problems seemed to have ended a career that also included a European title. After the first damage in 1992 he went under the knife believing that he would soon recover. It took two more operations on the injury and a fourth to clear up scar tissue. Yet as with Sanderson, his comeback this season has quickly brought him the Olympic qualifying standard.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral