Steve sets sights on Paralympic spot

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A wounded veteran from Lynn has his sights on competing on the greatest sporting stage at next year’s Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang.

Steve Arnold, a former Staff Sergeant, is being supported by Help for Heroes on his path to PyeongChang.

Arnold is currently competing at a World Cup event in Canada in a bid to qualify as a Para-Nordic skier for Team GB at next year’s Winter Paralympic Games.

Arnold, who joined the Royal Engineers, is passionate about fulfilling his boyhood dream, saying: “Most boys dream of being a soldier. I realised very young that I wanted to be a part of that.”

He served in the Army for 16 years completing tours in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I was leading a routine search operation in Afghanistan when I stood on an IED and lost both of my legs above the knee,” said Arnold.

“Having your military career end in one split moment at just 31 years-old, when you’ve just been selected for promotion, is hard. I didn’t know what I’d do next and how I’d support my family.”

Help for Heroes introduced Arnold to hand cycling, completing the Race Across America with the charity, and also to nordic skiiing.

He has a World Cup race in Canada this month where he hopes to set a qualifying time.

“Looking at the bigger picture the big aim is to get to the Paralympic Games in March but I’m fully focused on Canada,” he admitted.

“The journey I’ve had from just missing out on the cycling and coming into this sport less than 12 months ago, to hit the standard and go, would be an incredible feeling.”

Arnold is also determined to create a lasting impact by inspiring others to try nordic skiing, saying: We don’t want to go to the Paralympic Games and it end again for another 20 years. We want to create a legacy and move this sport on and inspire others to take this up.”

Help for Heroes has funded the Armed Forces Para Snow sport team to support the Para Nordic Programme.

Arnold hopes to compete in cross country skiing and biathlon which tests both physical and mental strength.

In cross country, there are three events ranging from the 1km sprint through to the 20km endurance event.

In the biathlon, they balance the physical demands of the undulated ski courses before coming onto the range to shoot five targets the size of a five-pence piece from a distance of 10 metres.

Should they miss, they face a 100-metre penalty loop.

He will find out in February 2018 whether they are part of Team GB at the Paralympics in South Korea.

It would be the first time since Nagano 1998 that there would be Great Britain representation in Para Nordic skiing.