King’s Lynn double amputee off to Rio as he pursues Paralympic dream

MLNF Steve Arnold H4H Race Across America ANL-150727-130412005
MLNF Steve Arnold H4H Race Across America ANL-150727-130412005
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Steve Arnold, from Lynn, is hoping that his dream of representing Team GB at the Paralympics moves a little closer next month.

The former Royal Engineer Staff Sergeant, lost both legs when he stepped on a home-made bomb in Afghanistan.

No Caption ABCDE ANL-150729-093332001

No Caption ABCDE ANL-150729-093332001

But right from the start he has been determined that sport should play a big role in his recovery.

Steve tried skiing (which he loved before injury), waterskiing, wheelchair rugby, basketball and swimming before settling on hand-cycling.

Steve was injured in April 2011, went through rehab at the Army hospital Headley Court before taking part in sports recovery events with the forces’ charity Help for Heroes.

This included the Race Across America in 2012 and the Invictus Games in 2014. He joined the British Cycling Development squad in October 2013.competing in national and international hand-cycling races.

The 37-year-old, who took part in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics in London, has not made the team for Rio in September.

But he is part of Help for Heroes’ Paralympic Inspiration Programme (PIP) which will see 21 athletes in 13 Paralympic sports attend the Games.

The programme, which was first launched in London 2012, provides athletes and coaching staff with an experience of several days at a Games.

Steve said: “It’s recognition from British Cycling that although I wasn’t ready for Rio they believe I could be ready for Tokyo.

“I’m honoured to be part of something that many people won’t get to do, to be able to see from the inside how a major Games works.”

The group will travel to Brazil next month where the programme aims to provide an understanding of the scale and scope of the Games; give an experience of a multi-sport environment; and give exposure to some of the unique aspects of a Games, including the Olympic Village, the media spotlight and mixed zone, and transport systems.

Additionally, there will be a rigorous curriculum that the participants will undertake, with lessons about nutrition, media, anti-doping, competition planning and goal setting, as well as being expected to keep up with their current training programmes.

Steve said: “Sport has given me the drive and determination to keep going and not give up, it’s also great for my health and I love being part of a team just like the military.”