A MANSFIELD Woodhouse man who lost a leg in a car crash when he was five is now competing with the world’s best at Sledge Hockey.
Former Manor School pupil Gary Farmer is currently representing Great Britain in the Sledge Hockey Pool-B World Championships in Japan.
The 28-year-old, who plays domestically for the Peterborough Phantoms is hoping for success at the tournament to force Great Britain into the elite group of teams.
The sport, usually played by double amputees, is very similar to Ice Hockey but players use a sledge and two sticks.
Gary was fast-tracked into the national side after showing potential at a young age.
He said: “I lost my leg after a car accident when I was five. It’s something I have grown up with and got used to.
“I’ve been playing Sledge Hockey for 12 years, I was literally stopped in the street and asked if I wanted to play.
“I was then fast-tracked into it and managed to get into the Great Britain team within about two years.”
Gary competed at the Paralympic Winter Games in Turin in 2006 and is hoping Great Britain can feature at the next games in Russia next year.
There appearance at the World Championships in Japan comes on the back of a win in Estonia.
Great Britain and host nation Japan will be joined by Estonia, Germany, Poland and Slovakia, with the top three moving on to the Paralympic Qualification Tournament for Sochi 2014.
Before heading to Japan at the weekend, Gary told Chad: “We have been training hard over the past couple of months. I’ve been in the gym every day.
“We’re in Pool-B which means we need to finish in the top three to get into the top division where all the best sides are.
“It’s extremely hard, the competition is fierce.
“We are playing against nations where Ice Hockey is their national sport.”
Gary added how Canada, Norway and the USA are the top teams in Pool A but teams like Italy have managed to progress to the top level in recent years.
Sledge Hockey was first introduced into Great Britain in 1981 and the British Sledge Hockey Association (BSHA) was formed in 1995 order to promote and develop the sport.
It is one of the five sports that form the Paralympic Winter Games. A GB team has competed in International events since 1982 including three of the five Paralympic Winter games since Sledge Hockey was included; 1994, 1998, and 2006.