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?
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss