An injured Borders services veteran has been chosen to take part in the Invictus UK Trials, supported by forces charity Help for Heroes.
The Invictus UK Trials Sheffield 2019 will see up to 350 wounded, injured and sick veterans and service personnel take part in up to nine adaptive sports in a showcase of the power of sport on recovery, launching this Monday, July 22.
Help for Heroes has trained and prepared the team, which includes James Hamilton, married father-of-two from Peebles.
James was a driver in the Royal Logistics Corps when he was the victim of an improvised explosive device in January 2005, leaving him with spinal, hand injuries and PTSD.
In 2014, he was medically discharged from the RLC, where he reached the rank of Corporal.
James – who competed in archery in the 2017 US Warrior Games – will compete in rowing and archery at the Invictus UK Trials next week.
He said: “I feel being part of a team gives me the confidence – not just by improving in my chosen sports, but with interacting with other people in a positive way.
“For example, competing in a sporting competition allows me to excel or fail, and not revert to bad habits, seeing the positive in any outcome.
“When I competed in the 2017 Warrior Games, the staff noticed there was a vast improvement in my self-confidence.
“I felt more comfortable and came out of my shell, which I implemented into all aspects of my recovery and life. Whether it be arranging travel to training camps or interacting with doctors and children’s teachers, I feel I am more able to address these tasks.
“I also think it’s been really positive to have the opportunity to pass on my experience of coping with mental health issues to others to aid them in overcoming challenges.”
Martin Colclough, head of sports recovery at Help for Heroes, said: “The Invictus UK Trials will be a brilliant demonstration of the power of sport and we are here to help every individual exceed their personal recovery goals – be it to take part, set a personal best or take home a medal.
“We’re proud to continue our legacy of delivering outstanding sports recovery to wounded veterans, through Invictus UK.
“We’d invite anyone who wants to try something new as part of their recovery to get in touch with Help for Heroes.
“It’s not just about competing in sports at an elite level. Through our local recovery centres, we can offer grass roots activities, such as walking football, and access to nutrition, sleep hygiene and physical activity advice.”
The Invictus UK Trials Sheffield 2019 runs from July 22-26, with 350 competitors, supported by their friends, family and local community, taking part in up to nine sports – archery, athletics, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
The Invictus UK partnership comprises Help for Heroes, the Ministry of Defence and the British Legion. All Invictus UK Trials competitors can put themselves forward to become part of Team UK for the Invictus Games in The Hague in 2020.
Selection in the UK is based on potential recovery benefit, attitude and commitment, as well as performance. Help for Heroes will work with all competitors, regardless of selection, to ensure their recovery journeys continue beyond the Invictus UK Trials.