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High 'hoops' for Invictus Games father and son duo

A Coleg Gwent lecturer and his son, also a student at Coleg Gwent, are amongst a group of wounded heroes hoping to make the Wheelchair Basketball team for the upcoming Invictus Games that are being championed by Prince Harry.

Lyndon Price, from Tredegar in South East Wales and his son Geraint joined hopefuls last weekend to be put through their paces by the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery programme at the final training session ahead of trials and team selection in the coming weeks.

Sixteen serving personnel and veterans faced a gruelling two days of drills, fitness training and match practice in preparation for the final trials in Nottingham next weekend. Selection at the trials will be based on the talent and commitment shown by the potential competitors, so this weekend was an opportunity to exhibit individual progress and a passion for being part of the team.

Lyndon, 54 who aspires to take part in Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby at the Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, will be among 400 competitors from 14 nations taking part in the Invictus Games if he is selected. The 100-strong team British team will be selected in August by Help for Heroes and the Ministry of Defence and announced on Wednesday 13th August in London.

Lyndon served with the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Wales in the band as a brass and bass guitar player as well as a PA specialist. A keen sportsman, Lyndon’s injury came not from active service, but from playing rugby, from which he developed a cross compression of spinal cord T7-12 and moto neuron deficiency which is slowly getting worse.

However, since starting playing wheelchair basketball (encouraged by his son Geraint who is also a wounded veteran hoping to take part in the Invictus Games), Lyndon has lost three and a half stone, “I feel strong and fit and healthy - apart from my legs not working I feel brilliant!”

During the final training session before the Wheelchair Basketball trials Lyndon commented, “The training camps are awesome, the best thing I have ever done! I came to the first one to bring Geraint, and was sat on side-line when they said they needed someone for a drill. I joined in on my day chair and one of the Help for Heroes team told me I could register as I am a veteran, so I did!”

Lyndon is a busy man, working as a music lecturer at Coleg Gwent’s Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone Campus in South East Wales, in addition to playing for Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball team, and filling the rest of his week with rugby sevens and rugby league training with son Geraint.

Geraint, 32 is also a student at Coleg Gwent studying Professional Cookery, he said; “It’s every son’s dream to play sport with their Dad, and to play at this level is fantastic”.

Martin Colclough, Help for Heroes British Armed Forces team manager said, “Help for Heroes has been supporting individuals in sport since 2008, and we are delighted to be training and helping to select the 100 strong British Armed Forces team, which will be a team to be reckoned with, and I know that those selected for wheelchair basketball will be no exception to this!”

Invictus is Latin for unconquered, a word that embodies the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick Servicemen, women and veterans, what they can achieve, post-injury.  The Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, are a unique chance for the public to celebrate this ‘invictus spirit’ through sporting achievement, at venues made famous by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The event runs from 10-14 September.  Tickets cost £12.85 and are on sale at www.invictusgames.org

The Invictus Games are being organised with the support and backing of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence.  They will feature nine adaptive sports at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Lee Valley Athletics Centre.  Teams have been invited from 14 nations that have served alongside each other.

For more information about courses at Coleg Gwent visit our courses pages or call our admissions team on 01495 333777.

News article originally published 22nd July 2014
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