8th Dec, 2016

Inspirational former solider given Solihull send-off to Invictus Games

Shaun Reynolds 7th May, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

A FORMER soldier whose arm was left shattered when an explosive device was activated by the Taliban will represent his country this weekend at the Invictus Games in Orlando.

James McGill will compete in the 100 metres, discus and swimming events at this year’s games which start on Sunday (May 8) and run until Thursday (May 12).

The 26-year-old, who works for Jaguar Land Rover, will take part in his first Invictus Games – seven years after joining the army in 2009.

James received multiple shrapnel and exit wounds to his arms and legs – resulting in nerve reconstruction in his left forearm with the addition of a titanium plate and pins to support bone structure.

Following the success of the inaugural event in London two years ago, this year’s games will see 500 competitors compete from 15 nations across ten sports including wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.

Mr McGill told The Observer he feels more confident in his ability on track than in the pool.

The inspirational athlete has always made sport a key aspect of his life and took part in multiple events before joining the army as a teenager.

“I’ve always been into sport and played rugby from a young age,” he added.

“I took part in athletics, gymnastics and martial arts too so sport has always been a part of my life.

“The Invictus Games is a fantastic opportunity for me to show off how much my life has changed with the improvements in technology and how I’ve developed.

“I heard about the games in 2014 but didn’t know how to apply until I received an email with links for me to have the opportunity to trial for GB.

“There was some stiff competition but I had a massive feeling of excitement when I read the letter confirming my space in Orlando.

“I’ve now represented my country at war and in sport, something I’m incredibly proud of.”

Speaking about his chances of medal success, James said he’s looking forward to competing in front of a large crowd and hopes to inspire fellow injured soldiers to never give up.

He said: “My parents have been incredibly supportive, my Dad is an ex-serviceman and he’s told me how nice it is to see me doing well for myself.

“There’s a huge element of pride involved with the games and its received tremendous support from some of the world’s top leaders, I can’t wait to finally get underway.”