Ex East Durham College student and London 2012 Judo Paralympic champion Ben Quilter

Former Student Wins Judo Bronze For Britain

Sat, 2001-09-22 01:00

East Durham College would like to congratulate ex-student Ben Quilter on his judo bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Ben attended the College between 2002 and 2004 training at our Judo Academy whilst studying on a sports science course; Ben then went on to study at Loughborough University.

Ben Quilter added Paralympics bronze to his two world titles with victory over Japan's Takaaki Hirai in the men's -60kg judo.

The 30-year-old visually impaired judoka won by ippon.

Brighton's Quilter lost to defending champion Mouloud Noura in his opening contest, ending his hopes of gold.

In his opening repechage, he overwhelmed Mongolia's Munkhbat Aajim before beating Ron Hawthorne of the US to set up the bronze-medal match.

Quilter finished fifth in Beijing, and admitted he would have been "happy" to again go away empty-handed following his opening defeat by Algeria's 2008 Olympic champion Noura.

"I wanted to go home," he told BBC Sport.

"I was happy to leave after this morning, but it has been such a long journey back.

"Seven weeks ago I snapped the cruciate ligament in my knee and severely ruptured the medial ligaments inside of the knee. There was a big question whether I'd be here."

Quilter took up the sport when he was seven but was diagnosed with Stargardt disease - a rare genetic sight condition - three years later. In his own words: "I am now left with no central vision and can only see peripherally."

The Kent-based player came to wider prominence in 2010 by becoming Britain's first visually impaired world champion for 12 years, adding World Games gold that year.

Quilter's hopes of adding Olympic gold were dashed early on the opening day of the Games, but added that a passionate support inside ExCeL helped him recover from the disappointment.

"In combat sport, when the chips are down, it's easy to give up. The crowd were fantastic today," he said.

"The game plan in the bronze-medal match was to fight the fight. I have to admit though, that was worst holding I've ever done and the longest 25 seconds of my life."