Northampton veteran James Stride has been selected to represent Team UK at the Invictus Games in The Netherlands next year in three sports.
Former corporal in the British Army, James Stride, 34, from Northampton, joined his teammates for the first time at the Honourable Artillery Company in London on Tuesday (29 October) where he met 65 of his teammates - who are all wounded veterans.
The athletes – 89 per cent of whom have never taken part in an Invictus Games before - will now undergo training camps delivered by Help for Heroes to ensure they are best prepared for the international sporting competition next year in The Hague.
Uplifted and motivated by the Invictus UK Trials in Sheffield earlier this year, James is striving to keep up the momentum
“It’s the community feel you get from it," he said.
"Since I got involved in Invictus it’s been amazing to be back among the lads again.
"To be a part of a team training towards a common goal will give me the drive and purpose I need in my life to improve my wellbeing once again.”
James now runs a gym with his friend who said James is like a ‘different man’ since signing up for the Invictus programme.
More than 350 military personnel and veterans trialed nine sports for one of the 65 places available on Team UK.
The selection process was based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training.
The team will compete in nine sports including athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.
They will continue to train from now until May in various locations across the country as part of Help for Heroes’ sports recovery programme and role to train and develop the team.
James is due to take part in athletics, rowing and powerlifting.
Julian North, recovery manager east, said: “The 65 men and women selected to represent Team UK will not only gain a personal recovery benefit from taking part in the games but they will hopefully inspire others suffering with life-changing injuries or illnesses that anything is possible.
“Our competitors are proudly serving their country again and showing that they will not let their injury or illness define them. We are especially proud of the fact that 89 per cent of Team UK have never competed in the Invictus Games before.
"The legacy of the games is strong, and they are providing a gateway for more wounded veterans and service personnel to benefit from the Help for Heroes sports recovery programme”.
Invictus UK is delivered by a partnership comprising Help for Heroes, The Ministry of Defence, and The Royal British Legion.