Team GB Paralympic sprinting star Ben Rushgrove talks to TV Times magazine about inspiring the nation, running in front of a home crowd and his biggest sacrifice – giving up chips!

How has it felt seeing everyone compete for Team GB?
“I saw the 100m final, Mo Farah and Jess Ennis, but I felt if I watched too much of it I might end up relaxing and I have a very serious job to do here now.”

Has it dawned on you that the Paralympic Games are upon you?
“When I turned my calendar over to August, right at the bottom I saw the words, ‘Paralympic Games’ and suddenly it hit me… Wow, this is really happening!”

How are you preparing at the moment?
“There’s a lot of fine-tuning, but there’s also fitness work still to do. This year has been a very tough year in terms of sprinting and the times have moved on quite a lot so we’re fighting to claw that back, but I’m feeling quite confident.”

Have you had to alter your diet in preparation?
“The closer to the Games you get, the more important eating becomes and it’s definitely food for fuel. I tend to eat quite bland and boring things like pasta and chicken. You try to spice it up with sauces, but in reality what you really want to do is to go home and eat some chips!”

You’ve had to battle through injury to make it here. How are you feeling?
“My injuries from Beijing have been sorted out. If you push yourself to the limit, sometimes your body really doesn’t like it and you have a problem.”

What’s your attitude to training?
“It’s an all-or-nothing strategy – if you become overly cautious you might not get injured, but you might not be fast enough to win the competition anyway.”

You came very close at the World Championships last year…
“I won the silver medal in the 100m by a hundredth of a second. It doesn’t get any closer!”

Do you think the home crowd will be a big help?
“It’s a unique experience being in front of a home crowd and I can’t wait to see what will happen. I’ve never seen the country get behind anything like they have done for the Olympics, and the Paralympics will be just the same I’m sure.”

How did making the C4 documentary, Ben, come about?
“I was at Loughborough University to get some sports science testing done and a man called John was filming the PhD students. Fairly quickly he realised that actually the good story was me and my coach! One of my rules is to never say no to anything so John started filming my training and then he was hooked. He has become a really good friend now!”

Do you think other people will be able to watch this and take something away with them?
“If there’s anything I’ve learnt from my experience of being an elite athlete it’s that good and bad things happen and the people who succeed are the ones who can turn the bad things into the good things again. It’s important to inspire others and I think the film will change people’s view of disability.”

How much would the gold mean to you?
“I want it very badly. I’ve been training full-time now for exactly nine and a half years. That’s every day for the past nine years, over which I’ve had about nine weeks off. I have put everything on the line for this gold medal. It’s by no means a foregone conclusion but at the same time I am quite confident. You have to have a certain amount of conviction otherwise what are you doing there?”

*The Paralympics’ Opening Ceremony screens on Channel 4 on Wednesday