THREE veteran soldiers who have been supported by a Catterick Garrison recovery centre are part of a 130-strong team in a Paralympic-style games held in London.
The Invictus Games was launched by Prince Harry earlier this year to use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding of those who have served their country.
The 130-strong British Armed Forces Team, supported by Help for Heroes and the Ministry of Defence, will include Phoenix House recovery centre users Gaz Golightly, Mikey Hall and Duncan Moyes when the games are staged between September 10 and 14.
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After three months’ training, Mr Golightly, from Hartlepool, has made the wheelchair basketball team, while Mr Hall, from Richmond, and Mr Moyes, from Peterlee, have been selected for the archery team.
Mr Golightly credits a recent Help for Heroes-funded trip to Texas to take part in a wheelchair basketball skills and competition camp, alongside fellow sportsmen from the US Air Force, for giving him the experience to make the GB team.
He said: “We had two days’ training with the Wounded Warriors team and that made a huge difference to my personal game.”
Mr Hall, who uses a wheelchair after falling on an assault course and breaking his neck and back, will be going all out to bring home a medal for the Invictus Games team.
He said: “I’m really honoured to represent the British Forces against 13 other nations.
“It’s absolutely awesome that I have been selected. It’s a big step and proof that I have bettered myself instead of sitting around at home.”
Mr Hall, 39, is also hoping the games will see him one step closer to competing in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Mr Moyes used to represent the army in fencing and archery before a spinal injury and contracting meningitis on an Iraqi airfield more than ten years ago.
He said: “I thought, as I still had my arms and upper body strength, that I should still be able to fence and shoot, but you have to forget how you used to do the sports and learn new techniques from scratch.”
The Invictus Games include events such as archery, athletics, wheelchair basketball and rugby, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, swimming, sitting volleyball and a special driving challenge.
The event is being organised with the support of the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, the Ministry of Defence and Help for Heroes.
It will feature nine adaptive sports with teams from 14 nations that have served for their countries.
For information visit www.invictusgames.org.