An injured ex-serviceman, who is supported by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme, has been awarded an Athlete Performance Award by UK Sport as a Podium Potential athlete, and has joined the Archery GB World Class Programme.
For former Lance Corporal, Mikey Hall (39), (from Richmond, North Yorkshire), the news comes following a strong International debut when winning a Gold and Bronze medal at the Para world-ranking archery tournament in Almere, Holland last month.
Mikey made a very strong start to his archery career as part of the Open Compound* Team competition alongside GB team mates John Stubbs, and Nathan MacQueen, seeing off Russia's challenge 225-221 to take the Bronze medal.
In the Individual competition, Mikey went two better when winning the Gold medal in the Compound Open Men’s category, with a two point win over Italy’s Matteo Bonacina – a significant achievement at his first International competition representing Great Britain.
Mikey was left paralysed from the chest down after an accident on an Army assault course, breaking his neck and back in numerous places. Sport has played a vital role in Mikey’s recovery, particularly archery, for which he was already a qualified coach. He now uses a compound bow, a shorter bow, ideal for target shooting and easier to use when in a wheelchair.
Last year, he was selected to spend ten days in Sochi as part of the British Paralympic Association’s Paralympic Inspiration Programme, supported by Help for Heroes. Mikey was talent spotted for archery and pistol shooting after taking part in a skills test event at the Help for Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire.
Prior to discovering his love of archery, Mikey cycled from Edinburgh to London in May 2013, completing the 445 miles on a handbike. He has also learned how to swim using just his upper body and has competed in three half Ironman competitions.
Most recently, Mikey has participated in the Help for Heroes & British Paralympic Association ‘Front Line to Start Line’ Programme, has been on the Archery GB Para Academy for six months, and has had additional fast track coaching support.
Jayne Kavanagh, Performance Pathway Manager, Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery said: “We’re extremely proud of Mikey and his progression onto the Archery GB World Class Programme. No doubt that his impressive results at his first International archery tournament have helped show what he is capable of, but it is his hard work and dedication that stand out here, and which have made this progression possible. We’re incredibly thankful to the public who make our work in the Sports Recovery team at Help for Heroes possible, and for Archery GB and ParalympicsGB for their work and continued partnership.”
Archery GB Performance Pathway Manager Ceriann Davies said: "We are proud of Michael’s achievements which is a reflection of his perseverance and dedication. Our talent team have made it challenging for Michael and he responded in the best way by winning when it mattered. He will be in great hands in the World Class Programme and has a bright future."
The support provided to Mikey forms part of the Help for Heroes’ partnership with the British Paralympic Association & Archery GB to introduce military personnel to Paralympic Sport.
*Open Compound Men – An individual in this class typically has strong activity limitation in their trunk and legs and compete in a wheelchair. Their arms however, show normal function.
Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery since 2008, and in the past year alone have put on 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.
Mikey regularly visits Help for Heroes’ Phoenix House Recovery Centre, to take advantage of a range of services and support.
Anyone that is wounded, injured or sick military personnel or veterans in the area who are in need of support from the Help for Heroes’ Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick can call (01748) 834148.
To find out more about Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme follow @H4H_SR on Twitter.