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The road to Toronto begins at Temeraire as Invictus Games powerlifting hopefuls try out

29 March 2017
Around 30 wounded, disabled serving personnel and veterans sweated and strained in Portsmouth as they fought to represent the UK at this year's Invictus Games.

More than 550 personnel from 17 nations will converge on Toronto in Canada for the third incarnation of the sporting event - the military counterpart of the Paralympics.

Team GB's powerlifting coaches visited the home of Royal Navy sport, HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth, to see whether some of those lifting had the potential for the 90-strong British squad.

Among those bidding for glory in Canada at the end of September was Lt Cdr Emma McCormick, recovering from a serious leg injury.

I am already inspired by all those around me, by their determination, but also their wicked sense of humour in the face of adversity.

Lt Cdr Emma McCormick RN

"Getting to the games would be a reward - not just for me, but for all those who have supported me during the hell that I've gone through over the past year," she said.

"I am already inspired by all those around me, by their determination, but also their wicked sense of humour in the face of adversity.

"In terms of my recovery, I have access to world-class coaches with the Invictus team - having them 'on tap' at Temeraire was a double win for me."

The powerlifting squad meets regularly under the direction and tutorage of head coach Ben Richens, who was paying his first visit to a Royal Navy establishment.

Each squad member has a dedicated training plan put together which helps them with their individual recovery but also goes towards building strength in a safe way.

Ahead of the weekend training and assessment session, Temeraire staff and Help 4 Heroes worked together to ensure the safety and comfort of all those lifting weights.

"Watching the athletes hone techniques and train has been inspirational - there was serious weight being put up on the bench!" said Commander Ed Evans, HMS Temeraire's Commanding Officer.

"Sport is such an essential part for many on their 'recovery pathway' that it was a natural step for HMS Temeraire - the Home of both People Support and Royal Navy Sport - to support Invictus and Help 4 Heroes.

"We hope that this is the start of a supportive partnership that sees us working together closely in the coming months so that these talented athletes are successful at the games in September.  We are proud to be welcoming our Invictus athletes to the city of Portsmouth the home of Naval Sport."

Applications for this year's games are now closed, with 53 serving personnel across the Armed Forces bidding to become team members.

They and the veteran cohort are due to take part in team trials at Bath University between April 6 and 9, ahead of final team selection in May.

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