Wounded service personnel and veterans hoping to make the Wheelchair Rugby team for the upcoming Invictus Games, championed by Prince Harry, have been put through their paces by the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery programme ahead of team selection in the coming weeks.
15 serving personnel and veterans took part in a gruelling two days of drills, fitness training at Leicester’s Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Leisure Centre. The trial was an opportunity for everyone to demonstrate to the coaches their individual progress as well as their passion for being part of the team which is what they will be looking for at team selection.
Daniel ‘Baz’ Whittingham, from Nottingham, lost his leg in Afghanistan and was told he would never walk again. He said: “When I was blown up / injured I thought that was it, my life was over. Through the Help for Heroes Sports programme, I was introduced to loads of new opportunities and was able to see what I could do, not just what I couldn’t. The confidence boost was huge and to be part of a national event like the Invicitus Games would be such a privilege”.
Carolyne Dufley, from Oxford, was struck down after an accident while practising judo, which resulted in suffering a spinal-chord injury that causes debilitating pain and loss of movement. She said: “It would be a huge honour to be selected for the British Team at the Invictus Games. The training so far has been great, being back amongst like-minded people all with a shared purpose. Sport has played a huge part in my recovery and I really hope I will be there in September in the British jersey once again representing my country.”
Martin Colclough, Head of Help for Heroes Sports Recovery & British Armed Forces Team Manager said, “Help for Heroes are delighted to be supporting the training and selection of the British Armed Forces team. We have been supporting individuals in sport since 2008 and know just how important sport at any level is for someone’s recovery. We’ve taken teams to the US Warrior Games in 2012 & 2013 and we can’t wait to compete on home soil, the British team will be a force to be reckoned with!”
The Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, are a unique chance for the public to celebrate this ‘invictus spirit’ through sporting achievement, at venues made famous by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The event runs from 10-14 September. Tickets cost £12.85 and are on sale at www.invictusgames.org