SCARCLIFFE’S Craig Preece dedicated his success at the inaugural Invictus Games to his family after an impressive double gold medal haul at the Lee Valley VeloPark.
The 32-year-old won gold in both the IRB1 men’s time trial and circuit events at the Olympic VeloPark in Stratford, beating out British teammate Andy Kelsey each time.
And Preece, formally a Corporal in the 21 Engineer Regiment, was thrilled for himself and his family that his strategy paid off at the Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Preece, formerly of Bolsover & District Cycling Club and now Andy Moore Autocentres Racing Club.
“I came in wanting two gold medals from my two events so I’m well happy to have done that. I’ve got one for each of my kids now.
“It’s not just about the gold medals but it’s about showcasing to the world what we can do as injured servicemen.
“My tactics went well in the time trial. I decided to go out hard because I’ve tried a number of different things on this track and that works best for me.
“I like going off hard and trying to keep it going. You’ve just got to hurt yourself to win. It was amazing to be part of the Games – ever since it was first announced I was desperate to get on the team.
“The crowd were phenomenal and the number of people out to support every sport is incredible.”
The Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover and championed by Prince Harry, is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel.
The event used the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country.
And Preece reflected on the huge role sport played in his own recovery having lost his right leg in 2010 when his vehicle hit an IED in Afghanistan.
“As soon as I could get involved with any sport, I did,” he said. “The mental side of my recovery was hard – I’ve always been active so not being able to do that at first was tough to accept.
“I kept my leg for a year before deciding to have it amputated but I was in so much pain and I couldn’t really do sport.
“But once I had the leg amputated my goal was to do the full ironman within a year – which I managed to do.
“After the London 2012 Paralympics disability sport was really put on the map and it showed what people can achieve.
“The Invictus Games have been a massive success and I’ve heard a rumour they’re going to do a winter one – so I’ll need to find a winter sport to pick up now.”
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 visit www.jaguar.com and www.landrover.com