A determined squad of indoor rowers spent two days at Brunel University London to prepare for the 2017 Invictus Games.
About 17 rowers from the UK Team trained at the University’s world class Indoor Athletics Centre in Uxbridge ahead of the international veterans’ sports event fronted by Prince Harry.
A team of 90 wounded, injured and sick British military personnel and veterans head to Canada at the end of September to compete in the Paralympic-style event.
“This will definitely stand them in good stead for Toronto,” said Hannah Lawton, Para Talent ID Coach of the GB Rowing Team as she started the athletes’ warm-up. “Having a venue that’s good quality with a big space and easy to get to is a huge positive.”
Among the bunch at Brunel was Michelle Partington, (pictured) the first female RAF paramedic working on the Afghan frontline. Ms Partington, 44, says the games saved her life after post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) took its toll.
“I decided to give myself something to live for again. Invictus has given me a fire back in my belly, helping me physically and mentally,” said Michelle.
“It’s quite an inspiring thing to have them here,” said Dean Edwards, communications and disability co-ordinator at Brunel’s Indoor Athletic Centre (IAC). “The Invictus Games have come into the public eye a lot over the last few years and it’s a pleasure to have them using our facilities.”
The IAC houses an Ergo rowing machine, which has an attachment so it can be specially adapted for athletes with disabilities. There are also indoor and outdoor tie-downs to keep wheelchairs still for throwing events as well as portable induction loops for people with hearing problems, automatic doors, lifts and accessible toilets. Brunel has a track record of funding scholarships for athletes with disabilities, with several Rio 2016 Paralympics success stories.
Hayley Jarvis, Media Relations
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