A former army private from Northampton, who triumphed at power-lifting at the Invictus Games, has said competing helped her more than even she realised at the time.
Kerys Knight, 47, of Northampton town centre, represented the UK at the Invictus Games this year, bringing home gold in the women’s compound finals, bronze in the team compound as well as bronze in the women’s lightweight power-lifting.
After discovering Kerys was ex-Army personnel, her archery coach - who had been involved in the first two Invictus Games - told her to sign up, leading to her involvement in Toronto.
Kerys was also prompted to give power-lifting a go at one of the Invictus training camps, having never power-lifted professionally before.
She said: "It was a profound experience, both the training camps in the build-up and throughout the games themselves. I never thought I'd have it in me to be playing up to a crowd but the atmosphere in the power-lifting arena, with all the support from everyone's friends and family, it was just intoxicating.
"Having a close friend of 20 years tell me, after watching the coverage at home, that they'd never seen me so lively, it kind of brought home what the games had done for me without me even realising it."
Kerys, a former Private in the Army, was injured during training after she jumped from a wall damaging her knee, which later caused further nerve damage to her lower left leg.
This eventually left the athlete unable to walk and as a result, she uses crutches or a wheelchair to get around.
She added: "Serving in the Army was all I'd wanted to do since childhood, so being discharged early in my career was devastating. I tried to look for the positives and take it as a chance at a different career, graphic design, but having drifted through a number of jobs I always came back to wishing I could have continued with my first love.
"When my disability put me out of work 12 years ago turned to education and did a degree in equine science at Moulton College. Through this I rehabilitated a rescue horse and we went on to compete in dressage, show jumping and endurance.
"I lost him to a heart attack two years ago and with so much time suddenly on my hands I looked for another sport to fill it and give me some focus - archery seemed perfectly adaptable to my capabilities so I joined Northampton Archery Club."
Kerys has revealed that she has already applied to compete in the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney on the day she was travelling back from Toronto and is encouraging her friend to compete too.
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