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Cornish athlete chosen for Invictus Games

Mark Perkins invictus games
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8:24am 1st June 2017

A Cornish athlete has been unveiled by Prince Harry as part of UK team for the Invictus Games in Toronto.

The 90-strong team of wounded, injured and sick serving military personnel and veterans came together for the first time since selection at the Tower of London.

Prince Harry met the team ahead of the forthcoming Invictus Games in September, and posed for the first official team photograph.

More hopefuls than ever before, 306 WIS military personnel and veterans, trialled 11 sports for one of the 90 places available on the UK team.

The rigorous 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.

Athlete Mark Perkins from Cornwall has been named in the UK Team.

The 42-year-old from Bude served in the Army and was discharged in 2005. He had a hip replacement 13 years ago and is now beginning to experience pain again in this area, which may require another replacement.

Mark had a high-level sporting background, but his injury meant he lost all his desire and motivation for sport.

But since getting involved in Invictus, he has found sport is helping him with his pain and bringing back his passion to compete. Toronto 2017 will see him take part in cycling and golf.

"For many years I have been struggling with pain and survival guilt," said Mark, "and have previously just put my head in the sand. The Invictus Games has not only assisted my pain by making me healthier and stronger but has also returned my previous drive. Being part of the Invictus Games will only continue to drive me in my recovery."

Mark is now living in Cardiff but his family are still in the county and he considers Cornwall home.

IG2017 UK Team Launch

The 2017 UK Team Captain was also named as former Army Major Bernie Broad, who takes over the mantel from 2016 Captain, David Wiseman. Bernie lost both his legs below the knee due to injuries sustained in an explosion in Helmand Province in 2009. He underwent four years of extensive surgery and rehabilitation followed by two years of assistance from the Personnel Recovery Unit at Chetwynd Barracks in Chilwell.

The team will continue to train in various locations across the country as part of Help for Heroes' extensive Sports Recovery programme and role to train and develop the team.

Over 60% of this year's team are new to the Invictus Games and were spurred on to apply off the back of the inaugural Invictus Games in 2014, the success of the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando and the day-to-day sports recovery activity that takes place.

The team will compete in 11 sports: Athletics; Archery; Wheelchair Basketball; Cycling; Powerlifting; Indoor Rowing; Wheelchair Rugby; Swimming, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Tennis and a new sport for 2017, Golf.

Jayne Kavanagh, of Help for Heroes and Chef de Mission for the UK Team, said: "With more hopefuls than ever before applying to be a part of the Invictus Games in Toronto, and with more than 60% of the 2017 UK Team being brand new to the Games, it is evident that the legacy of 2014 and 2016 is strong. In the UK team, we have 90 individuals who have displayed high levels of passion, teamwork and commitment to using sport as a tool of recovery both during and beyond the Invictus Games. We are very proud to be working alongside them and wish them the best of luck as they embark on their Invictus Games journeys."

The Royal British Legion will be supporting the friends and family, including carers, of the UK team as part of its work to recognise the vital and valuable contribution that they make to the recovery of WIS Service personnel and veterans.

The Legion's Director General, Charles Byrne said: "The Legion is proud to be supporting the friends and family of the UK team athletes at the Invictus Games 2017. We know how important the support of friends and family is to the team, both in their performance and recovery, so their involvement in the games is key. The Legion is co-ordinating travel, accommodation and tickets for family and friends to attend the games in Toronto, to ensure that every athlete can enjoy the support of their loved ones. We will also be providing support to friends and family in the UK in preparation for the games, as well as out in Toronto."

Jaguar Land Rover is proud to support the UK team and are presenting partners of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017. Jeremy Hicks, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover UK said: "When we first partnered with the Invictus Games in 2014, we knew its vision would be a perfect match for the values of Jaguar Land Rover and we are incredibly proud to be continuing our role as presenting partner of the games this year, in addition to sponsoring the UK Team as we did in Orlando.

"The passion and determination shown on the field is truly inspiring and we're delighted that Jaguar Land Rover employee Pa Njie will be representing us in Toronto this September. We wish him and all of the 2017 competitors the best on this exciting journey."

Invictus Games 2017 UK Team

The Endeavour Fund, a programme led by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry which supports WIS Service personnel and veterans using sport and adventurous challenges as part of their recovery and rehabilitation, is once again supporting the UK team. It has provided £50,000 funding to support the 2017 UK team.

Harry Holt, Chairman of the Endeavour Fund adds: "At the Endeavour Fund we know just how much getting involved in sport can help someone with their recovery and rehabilitation. We are continuing to work hard to ensure that wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women who are hardest to reach can benefit from being involved with an endeavour. So we were thrilled to hear that over 60% of this year's UK team are new to the Invictus Games. They should all be hugely proud of what they have achieved so far and we wish them the best of luck for Invictus Games in Toronto."

The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 will take place from 23rd to 30th September.

You can find out more here.

8:24am 1st June 2017

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