Born in 1972 Ian contracted eye cancer (Retinablastoma) and lost his left eye and most of the sight in his right. Following many operations Ian was left with an indent on the right side of his face and having to wear some pretty thick glasses.
At the age of 7 Ian’s parents, realised that he needed help to improve his self-esteem, as he was coming home from school some afternoons in tears after being teased about the way he looked. Little did they know how the next step they took for him, would inpact on his life so much. Ian was introduced to the sport of Judo and 2 coaches called Ron Cleere and John Oke, who accepted him into Micklefield Judo Club and treated him exactly the same as the other members, with no special treatment because of his eyes.
From that point on the sport of Judo became a big part of Ian’s life and within 3 months the teasing he received about his looks stopped, because he now had a new confidence and just ignored.
Ian was not a natural at Judo taking 2 years to win his first medal, but worked very hard in training and had a passion for success. The longer this went on the better Ian got and he received his first International selection in 1989 whilst still in the last year at secondary school. Competing in the European Visually Impaired Championships was a dream come true and the beginning of an international sporting career that would see him travel the world, winning 2 Paralympic medals, a World Championships and 4 European Championships.
Ian has now competed in 5 Paralympic Games and retired in 2011 to concentrate on the next chapter in his life, but couldn’t have achieved any of this without the forward thinking of his parents and coaches and the support of his wife Debbie and 2 kids Leah and Jordyn.
Life is full of opportunity, don’t let it pass by.