A wounded ex-serviceman, who is supported by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme, has finished second in the first-ever ParaSkeleton World Cup Series, after finishing in second place just 0.01 seconds behind the USA’s Eric Eierdam in the third and final round of the competition in St Moritz, Switzerland.
Matthew Richardson, 28 from Barton, Hull, a former Lance Bombardier in the British Army, was one of seven athletes competing in the third and final event of the ParaSkeleton World Cup series at Olympia Bob Run, in St Moritz. He posted a combined time of 1:55.49 to claim second place, finishing just 0.01 seconds behind the USA’s Eric Eierdam - the pair have fought a close battle throughout the season.
Matthew was struck by a landmine on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2008. Both of his feet were shattered by the blast and as a result he had to have reconstructive surgery to his left foot. He was medically discharged from the Royal Artillery and now trains and participates in ParaSkeleton events, in the hope of the sport becomes a recognised Paralympic event in 2022.
Matthew has attended a series of training camps as part of the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery Programme, and was one of the very first residents at Help for Heroes’ Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, in Wiltshire in 2011.
Joining Matthew in the race was fellow GBR competitor and Help for Heroes beneficiary, Alex Horsfall who finished in eight place with a combined time of 2:04.46. Alex lost part of his lower left leg and part of his left hand in an attack when serving in Helmand Province in 2009.
Corie Mapp, who lives near Swindon, recently won the first-ever ParaBobsleigh World Cup race in Igls, Austria. Corie is due to compete in the final round of the FIBT ParaBobsleigh event tomorrow at 09.00 & 14.00 (GMT+1). Corie was injured in 2010 by an Improvised Explosive Device blast in Afghanistan, where he lost both legs below the knee and suffered other severe injuries.
Post injury, and with the support of Help for Heroes, Corie soon discovered the restorative nature of sport. In 2013, Help for Heroes enabled Corie to compete for the UK in America’s Warrior Games. He was subsequently chosen to be part of the British Paralympic Association’s Paralympic Inspiration Programme. Through the programme, the 35-year-old was able to attend the Sochi Paralympic Games in 2014 providing him with first-hand experience of what a Winter Games is about and give him the best possible chance of success at Rio 2016 – in his other sport of sitting volleyball. He was also selected as part of the Help for Heroes supported British Armed Forces team at Prince Harry’s inaugural Invictus Games and was part of the Sitting Volleyball team who secured Gold at the event.
Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery since 2008, and in the past year alone have offered 300 events across 50 different sports enabling over 2,100 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in adaptive sports from grassroots through to performance level.
To find out more about Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme follow @H4H_SR on Twitter.