A VETERAN who uses a wheelchair after breaking his back and neck is hoping to compete in the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Mikey Hall, 38, from Richmond, broke his spine in numerous places in 2000 after falling from an assault course while in 1st the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, and attends Phoenix House Recovery Centre, in Catterick Garrison for rehabilitation.
After taking part in an assessment by British Paralympic Association (BPA) at the Help For Heroes-run Phoenix House, he has been selected for a programme based on his ability in archery and shooting.
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From this, Mikey was then one of eight athletes selected as part of the Paralympic Inspiration programme, run by the BPA, to give aspiring Paralympians the chance to experience the games.
Mr Hall will attend the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games from March 7 to 16 with the programme.
He said: “This is a really great opportunity for me.
“Help for Heroes has given me the chance to go away to the Winter Olympics and see how it’s run and hopefully get to Rio in 2016.”
Mr Hall, who is also a qualified archery coach, said: “It’s about getting used to the stadium and watching how the athletes switch off from the big crowds and just focus on their sport and the goal in front of them.
“The thing I would find hardest is the overwhelming nature of it and the excitement.”
During the camp in Russia Mr Hall will undergo a rigorous curriculum that the participants will undertake, with lessons about nutrition, media, anti-doping, competition planning and goal setting, as well as being expected to keep up with his current training programme.
“Hopefully this is the first step on the path to Rio. I’m just happy to have been chosen,” he said.
Mr Hall will carry out some of his training at Phoenix House, which he regularly visits to take advantage of a wide range of services and support.
Anyone who served in the Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines or Royal Air Force who needs the help of Phoenix House can self-refer by calling 01748-834148.
To donate to Phoenix House, fill in the form at http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/resources/files/31397 to ensure the money is spent at the centre, and send with a cheque to Phoenix House Recovery Centre, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, DL9 3AW.