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Invictus Games joy for ex-soldier




He was on his second tour of Afghanistan in 2012 when his life was irrevocably changed by a Taliban grenade launcher.

Matthew Tate suffered permanent nerve damage in the attack, which inflicted lower body injuries that left him unable to run, as well as plenty of mental scars.

There have been some dark times in the 26-year-old's long road to recovery.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel, with Tate selected as one of 72 athletes due to represent Team GB at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney later in the year.

The powerlifter will compete in the power bench press event on October 24, and will do it with recognition of the role that sport, and particularly the Invictus Games, has had on his ongoing recovery.

"It's an incredible competition," Tate, who was medically discharged from the Army in 2015, said. "It's about a lot more than just the sport.

"It gives you a new focus and a new lease of life to train and aim for it, it shows you that there's light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel of pain and suffering. And it reminds you how to have fun too, and enjoy yourself.

"The Invictus Games shows you that there's light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel of pain and suffering"

"I've always been a really sporty person so when I got injured and could no longer run, I had to look for the things I could still do."

The Bury St Edmunds man said there were more than 1,100 applicants for one of the 72 spots, and he was still struggling to 'get his head around' the success of making it this far in the selection process.

FAMILY SUPPORT: Matthew Tate (standing) helping Alex Tate train, both will represent Team GB at the 2018 Invictus Games
FAMILY SUPPORT: Matthew Tate (standing) helping Alex Tate train, both will represent Team GB at the 2018 Invictus Games

"It's happened really fast," he said. "I competed at the British Spring Open earlier in the year and won silver – that was my first ever competition.

"And now I will get the benefit of Team GB coaches until the Games to continue to develop and prepare. I can't wait to represent my country, it's a massive achievement.â"

He hopes this will mark the start of a successful powerlifting career that will take him to the Commonwealth Games and even the Paralympics.

And he also hopes he can achieve this alongside his 27-year-old cousin Alex Tate, an experienced Invictus Games competitor having won gold in the first ever event in 2014.

Bury-based Alex has also been selected for the Team GB squad at the Games, and is aiming for the 2020 Paralympics.



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