Help for Heroes Sports Recovery beneficiaries were out in force over the weekend, continuing to use sport as an important part of their recovery.
ParaBobsleigh & ParaSkeleton
The weekend started early for Matthew Richardson, who on Friday finished second in the inaugural ParaSkeleton World Cup series after a second place finish in the final race in St Moritz. The ex-serviceman won gold in the first event in Park City, USA in November last year, and claimed silver in the second in Igls, Austria earlier in January. He was just 0.01 seconds behind America’s Eric Eierdam in the final race in St Moritz. Matthew’s team mate Corie Mapp, who was the first ever World Cup ParaBobsleigh winner in his sport by winning the kick-off event in Igls, Austria, finished second overall, ahead of Canadian athlete Lonnie Bissonnette. Both Matthew and Corie come away from the competition with treasured memories, impressive trophies and a hunger for next season.
For our cyclists it was off to Newport, Wales for the first Para-cycling International of 2015, and an opportunity to get some important points on the board for Rio 2016 qualification. Jaco Van Gass was joined by Louis Rolfe and Jon Gildea in the C4 Team Event. The team pushed world champions Spain hard but had to settle for silver, exactly one second slower than the world record holder’s time of 51.896 seconds. Jaco claimed another Silver medal in the Individual C4 Pursuit. Craig Preece, who was invited to compete at the event for his first ever track race, was joined by Crystal Lane and Jody Cundy in the C3 Team Event, and were comfortably quicker than Germany in the bronze-medal final, completing the three laps in 53.788 seconds.
On the athletics track it was Alex Tate’s turn to shine at the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley – where he won Gold at the Invictus Games only a few months ago. Alex took part in the Indoor 60m race and broke his PB in the heat clocking a time of 7.79 seconds. Unfortunately Alex stumbled as he left the starting blocks in the final, but a great experience he says he can learn from.
Across the globe with our sailors (Craig Wood and Steve Palmer and their third crew member Liam Cattermole) finished sixth in the Disabled Fleet race in the Sonar division at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup in Miami, Florida. It was a tough race and the crew fought incredibly hard over several days, finishing just one point behind Ireland to take sixth place. They will continue their campaign for Rio 2016.
Last but by no means least; Jon-Allan Butterworth took to our TV screens last night on Channel 4’s ‘The Jump’. Help for Heroes supported Paralympic athlete, Jon-Allan, has spent several weeks training for the winter sports show, and last night managed to secure the fastest time in the skeleton competition when up against JLS singer JB Gill. Louise Watson, Sports Recovery Manager at Help for Heroes said: “It's great to see Jon-Allan pushing his limits and giving something new a go. From joining the early Help for Heroes bike ride back in 2008, trying out skiing to winning three silver medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Jon-Allan demonstrates that there is definitely life beyond injury. Since 2008, Help for Heroes has supported veterans to give something new a go and we’d encourage anyone else in the same position to get in touch”.
Tune in to Channel 4 on Wednesday evening from 8pm to see him compete against the 11 other remaining celebrities in the ‘snow cross’.
Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery since 2008, and in the past year alone have offered 300 events across 50 different sports enabling over 2,100 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in adaptive sports from grassroots through to performance level.
To find out more about Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme follow @H4H_SR on Twitter.