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Soham's Wayne Harrod ready to represent the United Kingdom at the Invictus Games in Australia



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He can often be seen hurtling through the streets of Newmarket and the surrounding villages and towns, but Wayne Harrod will have a very different route to tackle on Sunday.

For the 48-year-old cyclist, who lives in Soham, will be on the start line in Sydney, Australia having been selected to represent the United Kingdom for the second year in a row at the Invictus Games.

The Games are the brainchild of Prince Harry, designed to provide wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans with the opportunity to take part in a multi-sport event, competing against nations from across the globe.

Wayne Harrod (4824173)
Wayne Harrod (4824173)

Former Colour Sergeant Harrod had his left leg amputated below the knee in 2004 after he was injured by a reconnaissance vehicle, although he remained in the army for a further seven years before retiring.

Twelve months ago in Toronto he returned home from the Games with a silver medal from the Men’s Road Cycling IRB2 Time Trial, while also finishing sixth in the Men’s Road Cycling IRB2 Criterium event.

But, while Harrod is in much improved shape – physically and mentally – this time around, he is not setting any targets.

“I do not chase medals, it is just fantastic being there,” he said.

“I am a lot fitter, a lot stronger and a lot more savvy about racing than I was last year.

“The UK team itself is very strong and the medals are there. It all goes on what happens on the day.

Wayne Harrod (4824165)
Wayne Harrod (4824165)

“When you look at all the other nations involved, they are good cycling nations, like Holland, Italy, France and of course Australia.

“They all have good cyclists, and because you do not know who you are riding against and their standards, it is tough to set a target in terms of medals.

“A gold would be fantastic, but I just have to leave it until I am in the saddle and get the word to go.”

When Harrod first came out of the army, he initially found it hard to adjust to life on ‘Civvy Street’.

He has estimated 200 job applications went unanswered, yet slowly but surely the situation started to improve – helped first by cycling, and then by his involvement within the Invictus Games.

“It is not until you get into the Invictus Games system that you realise how big it is,” he added.

“It is a fantastic system and it is a real good heart-warming thing for your family and friends.

“They know you have gone that bit more from being in recovery and you are getting back into a good quality of life.

“It shows what can be achieved and how far you can go.

“Look what you can do on the global stage because of this event.

“We serve our country, but to have the chance to represent our countries in sport is outstanding – you cannot put a price on what it means.

“And when you are out training in the cold and wet weather, the army discipline really comes into play and gets you through.

“I would not be where I am now without cycling and the Games.”