Midlothian soldier gets Team UK Invictus Games call-up

Royal Highland Fusilier Sean Wiseman, from Bonnyrigg, in his Invictus Games Team UK kit.
Royal Highland Fusilier Sean Wiseman, from Bonnyrigg, in his Invictus Games Team UK kit.

A Midlothian soldier who lost a leg in Afghanistan has been chosen to represent Team UK at the 2020 Invictus Games.

Royal Highland Fusilier Sean Wiseman, from Bonnyrigg, joined his teammates for the first time at the Honourable Artillery Company in London last Tuesday.

The athletes –89 per cent of whom have never taken part in an Invictus Games before - will now undergo training camps delivered by Help for Heroes to ensure they are best prepared for the international sporting competition next year.

Fus. Wiseman joined the army in the week he turned 18 but, just weeks after his 2 Scots battalion arrived in Helmand in 2010, was blown up on foot patrol by an IED.

Doctors gave him the agonising choice of losing his right leg or years of work to rebuild both limbs — and he picked amputation.

The young soldier refused a medical discharge – and after a gruelling fightback is determined not only to continue his forces career but also to take part in competitive sport.

Being selected to compete in the rowing events at Invictus 2020 at The Hague is a significant step forward in the 27-year-old’s remarkable journey.

Wiseman said: “Focusing on sports helps me cope with my PTSD and boost my confidence. I hope that one day I can compete with able bodied people and prove to myself and other injured personnel that we are more than just injured and just as capable.”

More than 350 military personnel and veterans trialed nine sports for one of the 65 places available on Team UK. 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.

The team will compete in nine sports: Athletics; Archery; Wheelchair Basketball; Cycling; Powerlifting; Indoor Rowing; Wheelchair Rugby; Swimming and Sitting Volleyball.

They will continue to train from now until May in various locations across the country as part of Help for Heroes’ extensive Sports Recovery programme and role to train and develop the team.

Hannah Lawton, of Help for Heroes and Chef de Mission for Team UK, said: “The 65 men and women selected to represent Team UK will not only gain a personal recovery benefit from taking part in the Games but they will hopefully inspire others suffering with life- changing injuries or illnesses that anything is possible.

“Our competitors are proudly serving their country again and showing that they will not let their injury or illness define them. As a team, we are especially proud of the fact that 89 per cent of Team UK have never competed in the Invictus Games before.

The legacy of the Games is strong and they are providing a gateway for more wounded veterans and service personnel to benefit from the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery programme.

“We are very proud to be working alongside these 65 athletes and wish them the best of luck as they embark on their Invictus Games journeys.”