A Henlow hero won two medals on the first day of the Invictus Games.
Michael Swain took gold in his criterium race and silver in the Men’s Handbike IHB2 Time Trial at the Games in Sydney, Australia.
The former soldier who was injured in Afghanistan when he was hit by an IED in 2009 when he was just 19, is a double amputee above the knees and suffered shrapnel wounds to both arms.
Since then he has pushed himself to excel at sport, taking up handcycling in 2016. In 2017 he was selected as part of the team taking part in one of the world’s toughest endurance cycling events, the 3,081-mile Race Across America to raise money for Help For Heroes.
At the time Michael said: “Taking on the RAAM is a big challenge and one that I couldn’t turn down. To be able to look back and say you were part of an elite team who took on this challenge would be great. We are all ex-military guys so to be back in that environment again with the guys will be really good; military companionship and banter will get us to the end.”
Earlier this year he was nominated for the Celebrating Excellence Award, in the Endeavour Fund Awards, for sporting or adventurous endeavour by wounded service members and veterans.
After his injury, Michael, who is now 27, struggled with traditional prosthetics before becoming the first British soldier to have the osseointegration procedure – attaching titanium rods directly to his thigh bones – in 2014. The revolutionary operation, which allowed him to walk again within a few weeks, was performed in Australia by Dr Munjed Al Muderis.
Dad-of-two Michael was awarded the MBE in 2014 for his work for charity causes such as Coming Home – which provides adapted homes for severe wounded veterans – and his efforts to inspire others.
The Invictus Games is the only international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
The inaugural Invictus Games was held in London in September 2014 and was attended by more than 400 competitors from 13 nations.