An Army veteran from Lisburn who is hoping to compete at the Invictus Games later this year has thanked local firm Lagan Valley Steels for providing him and his fellow athletes with a vital piece of training equipment.
Dougie Durrant, who served with the Royal Logistic Corps from 1976 - 1998, was injured in the IRA bombing of Thiepval Barracks in October 1996. He was left with a serious injury to his lower spine.
The 59-year-old former soldier is currently in training for the US Air Force Trials, which will take place in Las Vegas next month.
He will be representing Help for Heroes at the event, and his preparation for the competition has received a major boost from Lagan Valley Steels.
The Hillsborough-based company recently presented wounded veterans from Help for Heroes with a new ‘throwing chair’. The new piece of equipment, which will be used by athletes with spinal injuries competing in events such as discus and the shot put, will be located at the Mary Peters Track on the outskirts of Belfast.
“The current chair they have at the Mary Peters Track was built in the late 1950s and is no longer fit for purpose. We needed a new chair and put some feelers out and Colin Anderson (Purchasing Manager at Lagan Valley Steels) jumped at the chance to help. He does a lot of great work for veterans,” Dougie explained.
“The new chair will be used by myself and other veterans as we train for the Invictus and Warrior Games in 2018. It is vital to our training and we are very grateful to Colin and Lagan Valley Steels.”
During his 10-day trip to the US next month, Dougie will be competing in a number of events, including the seated discus, seated shot put, seated volleyball, shooting, powerlifting and wheelchair rugby.
He is hoping to be selected for Team UK for this year’s Warrior Games, which take place in Colorado in June, and the 2018 Invictus Games, due to be staged in Sydney, Australia in October.