Invictus Games triple gold medallist admits initial apprehension
- Credit: Getty Images for Invictus Games
St Albans’ Jordan Beecher admitted winning triple rowing gold was the perfect way to get over his initial apprehension of competing at the inaugural Invictus Games in London.
The 26-year-old, whose left leg was amputated after he initiated an IED in October 2012, was spotted by GB Para-rowing Talent Identification Coach Helen Blamey in his first week of rehabilitation at Headley Court.
Lance Corporal Beecher, who will leave the Parachute Regiment in February following a medical discharge, took up the sport only four months after his accident before going full-time in January this year.
He heard about the Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover and championed by Prince Harry, while in Sochi this year with the Paralympic Inspiration Programme but was skeptical about the scope of the event.
But Beecher’s fears were quickly dispelled as he rowed his way to victory in the individual endurance and sprint IR5 events, as well as helping Great Britain win the team gold medal.
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“I thought it would be a bit of a school sports day but it turned out to be this massive, amazing event,” said Beecher, who is coached by England Talent Pathway Development Coach Ella Willott.
“It’s probably the biggest thing I’ve ever done in terms of being anxious since I first joined the army at 16.
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“I’ve always been good at what I do and know what my job is but this is just a different level – I can’t get over how much everything has gone bigger than Ben Hur.
“I’ve achieved everything I wanted to with three gold medals. I wasn’t here for silver as the pain of losing would’ve been a lot worse than the pleasure of winning.
“Thanks to my coach Ella Willott all that hard work and time in the boat with early mornings and late evenings, missing weddings and funerals over the last couple of months has paid off.”
The Invictus Games are an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel, with more than 400 competitors from 13 nations taking part in nine sports across four days in London.
But with the spotlight well and truly on the Games and using the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country, Beecher believes it is only just the start.
“It would be fantastic for the Invictus Games to continue and maybe in another nation as well,” he added. “It’s great for guys who aren’t going to try professional sport as its gets them doing stuff and some recognition from the public.
“I can’t fault anything about these games – they’ve had their problems obviously but the amount of administration involved has just been huge and they’ve done an absolutely incredible job.
“I’ve got the British Championships next month so I’ll be facing [Invictus Games silver medallist] Ray Lowrie again and then GB Trials after that so hopefully it’ll all go well.
“I really want to race the Mixed Double at Tokyo in 2020. I might make Rio if I’m lucky but I’m aiming for Tokyo because other guys have been racing for years while I started to row after my injury.”
Jaguar Land Rover is proud to be the presenting partner of the Invictus Games, the international sporting competition for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel. For more information visitwww.jaguar.com and www.landrover.com