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Marine shot in Afghanistan joins in games

A Borough Royal Marine who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan just two weeks before he was due to fly home, has taken part in the US Paralympic Warrior Games

A Borough Royal Marine who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan just two weeks before he was due to fly home, has taken part in the US Paralympic Warrior Games.

A team of injured service personnel, supported by Help for Heroes, entered the competitive event in Colorado last week and among them was Matthew Hancox from Olton.

The 25-year-old took part in three track events - a scenario Matthew could not have envisaged back in September 2011 when an enemy insurgent shot him in the upper chest while he was out on patrol in the Nad e Ali district in the southern province of Helmand.

Speaking from the glorious climes of the Rocky Mountain state, the former Lyndon School pupil said his patrol on that day with Four Two Commando had begun as normal.

"I was six and a half months into my tour, there were 15 of us and the insurgents were in the process of forming an ambush.

"I was the first one in the patrol. We [Matthew and the insurgent] were about 30 metres from each other.

"He shot at me and I returned fire."

The injured marine was stabilised and then helicoptered out of the country, waking up two weeks later at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

He recalled: "I was on a ventilator for two weeks and I ended up with severe nerve damage and long term paralysis to my arm.

"Since I was injured I have spent 20 months in rehabilitation. My job was front line duty so I cant do that any more.

"This time next year I will be discharged so I have been keeping busy by doing a degree at Coventry University in exercise and nutritional health."

And the modest Marine is also looking forward to tying the knot with fiancee Kiri in September, a family affair which will see his parents, brothers Martin, Michael and Mitchell, a recent signing to Birmingham City Football Club, in attendance.

The Games, hosted by the U.S Olympic Committee, saw around 260 wounded members of American forces and 35 UK athletes take part in friendly competitions including archery, cycling, shooting, swimming and track and field.

 

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