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22 November 2011 | PR 11/146

Loughborough academic produces film about Paralympic athlete

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An independent film capturing the life story of one of our very best medal hopes for the London 2012 Games is to be screened in Loughborough on Tuesday 29 November.

BEN – a film by Dr John Edwards follows the story of sprinter Ben Rushgrove who won a silver medal in the T36 100 metres at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, just three weeks after breaking his foot.

Not only was the film shot and produced by a Loughborough academic, the documentary also demonstrates how the University’s Sport Technology Institute has played a role in supporting Ben through his injury ravaged career.

Ben was born with cerebral palsy and his parents were informed by doctors that he may never be able to walk. But Ben has managed to defy the odds not only in battling his disability, but also developing into a world class athlete.

The film charts Ben’s life and features an insight through moving interviews with his parents Alison and David. On the track the film goes behind the scenes at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and the 2011 IPC World Championships in New Zealand.

But the film also illustrates how the University’s Sports Technology Institute supported Ben, by developing footwear that sought to help him avoid persistent foot injuries that were hampering his development.

Ben was assessed through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded “Elite to High Street (E2HS)” research grant, that is breaking new ground in developing high performance sports footwear, optimised for individual users.

The E2HS programme comprises a multidisciplinary team of researchers that are working at the cutting edge of sports technology, additive manufacturing, industrial design and ergonomics.

Professor Mike Caine, Director of the Sports Technology Institute said:

“The technologies being developed by the research group may contribute to the UK's medal winning prospects in the London 2012 Games, however the longer-term goal is to bring personalised athletic footwear to the high street.

“In the case of Ben Rushgrove the team were able to explore how to use personalised running shoes to support Ben’s feet more effectively when subjected to the impact forces of sprinting. What we learnt from working with Ben has enabled us to better understand the potential benefits of this emerging technology.”

The Director of the film, Dr John Edwards, first met with Ben at Loughborough during a visit to the Sports Technology Institute following his performance in Beijing.

Speaking about the film, Dr John Edwards said:

“It’s been a great privilege to work with such an inspirational athlete and to gain a unique insight into his life.  I hope the film sheds light just what it takes to become a Paralympian. I want the world to know that, for these guys, training to achieve glory at London 2012 means battling hard every day on many fronts.”

A screening of the film takes place at 6:30 pm on 29 November at the Leonard Dixon Studio in Martin Hall on the University campus.

Both Ben Rushgrove and Dr John Edwards will be in attendance for a short introduction prior to the film, and a question and answer session afterwards.

Speaking of the film, Ben Rushgrove said:

“My hope is that the film will inspire people to find out more about the Paralympics, and show the hard work and commitment of the athletes involved. As you watch the film and my story, I hope it questions some of the prejudices and causes people to think about disability in a new way."

BEN is an independent film made by SightHound Production supported by Loughborough University, The University of Bath and Channel 4. The screening is free but you do have to book in order to attend.

Tickets are available from: http://benfilm.eventbrite.co.uk/

A trailer of the film is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt2R2xgZrgQ

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Rob Knott
PR Officer (Sport)
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: R.A.Knott@lboro.ac.uk 

Lynn Hanna
SightHound Production
T: 07973 786757
E: lynnhanna08@gmail.com 

Notes for editors:

1. The Elite to High Street research programme has been funded with over £1m from Loughborough University's EPSRC funded Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre (IMCRC). The Centre is the largest of its kind in the UK and has funded over 100 engineering based research projects across a range of disciplines.  More details can be found at:
http://www.lboro.ac.uk/business/E2HS/

2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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