St Albans paralympic rower on course for victory in 3,000-mile cross-Atlantic adventure
- Credit: Getty Images for Invictus Games
A phenomenal Paralympian is competing in a rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean with only one leg - and winning.
Army vet Jordan Beecher, an alumnus of Marlborough School, was on his third deployment in Afghanistan in 2012 when an improvised explosive device blew off his leg 12cm below the knee.
Although Jordan had to leave the Parachute Regiment, he has since won four Invictus Games gold medals, trained with the GB rowing team and competed in the Henley Royal Regatta.
Now, along with fellow soldier Jon Armstrong, Jordan has taken the challenge to row 3,000 miles from La Gomera to Antigua as part of the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.
They aim to raise £100,000 for Blesma The Limbless Veterans, which supported Jordan after the injury, sick children’s holiday charity Dreamflight, and the Gurkha Brigade Association.
Jon and Jordan, Team Titan (TT), set off on December 14 last year and have been fiercely rowing in two hour shifts, 24 hours a day, ever since.
The race is expected to finished around January 18 - more than 30 days of gruelling competition - and despite capsizing and temporarily slipping into second place, they still powered forward and are now on course to win.
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TT have faced waves six metres high, seen whales up close, are surviving on military rations, and are tackling sleep deprivation, hallucinations, and sea sickness.
More people have climbed Mount Everest than have completed this challenge and all of the other contestants are able-bodied.
Jordan’s mum, Michelle Irving, said: “As a parent what can I say? We are proud of our children for all they achieve but when my boy arrives in Antigua I will feel that unconditional feeling of love and pride for my child.”
She described the moment they were reunited after Jordan’s injury: “The day I got to see him after the longest time was like Christmas and birthdays all in one, there he was my boy, so brave, so handsome and as usual smiling.
“I cant tell you how long I hugged him and kissed him, it’s never enough with your children but the feelings running through me were everything from deep sadness to euphoria.
“The first thing he said to me was ‘I am so sorry mum, don’t be upset, it’s only a scratch’. What can you say to that?”
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