Brave Craig Winspear has been chosen to represent his country – less than five years after his life was hanging in the balance.
The 33-year-old former High Tunstall College of Science student, in Hartlepool, is one of the 110-strong team of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans selected by Prince Harry to represent the UK at the 2016 Invictus Games.
Craig’s partner Hayley Wilson, 35, admitted: “I am so proud of what he has achieved.”
A bomb blast in December 2011 left his life hanging by a thread.
The 23rd Pioneer Regiment soldier lost both his legs when he slipped on wet ground in Afghanistan and landed on a live bomb.
His family were told to prepare for the worst, but Craig fought back to health despite five months in hospital.
Brave Craig then learned towalk all over again on prosthetic legs.
His story was so inspirational, he won a Hartlepool Mail Local Hero Award in 2013.
At the time, he told of his dream to fight back and compete in the Paralympics.
Now he’s all set to represent his country at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex fromMay 8 to May 12.
Five hundred competitors from 15 nations will compete in 10 sports, and Craig will compete in the wheelchair basketball team and as an individual shot-putter.
Hayley said: “He is doing really well. He is still rehabbing and he is getting medically discharged later this year.
“And as regards to walking on his prosthetics, he is flying along. The Invictus Games have really boosted his confidence.”
The rigorous selection process for the UK team was based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Everyone selected for the UK team can be proud of what they have achieved as they prepare for success in Orlando.
“The MoD is once again backing this superb event, and I look forward to being there to see our personnel and veterans demonstrate their fighting spirit.”
The Royal British Legion will support friends and family of the UK team to recognise the vital contribution they make to the recovery of wounded, injured or sick service personnel and veterans.