Invictus Games: Injured cyclists hoping for Games legacy
PUBLISHED: 11:33 13 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:36 13 September 2014
One of the key aims of the Invictus Games has been to highlight the achievements of injured serviceman, something the competitors hope to see maintained in the coming years.
Former Royal Marine turned cyclist Andrew Clarke, 33, took silver in the men’s road bike time trial IRB3 category this morning, seconds behind teammate Andrew Perrin in the Lee Valley Velo Park.
He said: “We didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been awesome.
“It was great to medal, but the whole thing is about raising awareness - there are people here in a such worse state than I am.”
British team mate James Cumming, a former Army captain turned Canary Wharf leadership development worker, hopes the tournament will mean the support remains as strong in the future.
Originally from Edinburgh but now living in Balham, south London, the 32-year-old lead up to 120 men in tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan but it was in the Welsh Brecon Beacons that his military career came to a shuddering halt.
Midway through a Special Forces selection mission he fell off a cliff, landing on his neck and severely damaging the nerves in his shoulder.
Although slightly disappointed with his time in the category, James stressed that for once, it really is the taking part that counts.
He said: “It would have been nice to medal, but knowing where we’ve all come from just being on the start line is an achievement.
“Just walking into the venue this morning, you could feel the atmosphere building and with all the branding, it felt like London 2012.
“It’s an incredible games the public need to keep seeing these events. People think that now we’re leaving Afghanistan the injury and the wounds are over, but legs aren’t going to grow back, just because we’ve left.
“A lot of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) doesn’t show for 10 or 20 years, so people need to remember that and continue the support for life, not just while it’s in the public image.”