Hero Joe takes four gold medals in Invictus Games


Eastbourne war hero Joe Townsend has been awarded multiple gold medals in the Invictus Games.

The 26-year-old former Ratton School pupil, who got married in July, has become an award-winning wheelchair racer since returning from Afghanistan.

Joe, a former Royal Marine Commando, was injured in 2008 when he stood on an anti-tank mine in Helman Province and lost both his legs.

Joe competed in the Invictus Games in London last week with more than 400 competitors from 13 nations.He claimed four victories on the track in the 100 metres, 200m, 400m and 1,500m.

The games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.

Teams came from the armed forces of nations that have served alongside each other. The games, which aims to use the power of sport to inspire recovery and rehabilitation, is championed by Prince Harry.

The Prince said Joe was in a class of his own and described the Eastbourne man as “our David Weir, a medal machine”, comparing the ex-serviceman to the athlete who won three gold medals at the Paralympics.

Joe was interviewed after being presented his medals by Prince Charles and was described by the newspaper as looking ‘dazed’.

He said, “I’m shattered, I’m just overwhelmed by the support here.

“There were a few events I was winning by a clear margin but the support of the crowds just drives you to keep going, I could have eased off the gas but I was doing it for the crowds.”

Joe has gone from strength to strength in his athletics career appearing in the paralympics opening ceremony, becoming an Ironman and competing in the para-triathlon.

He also hopes to be part of the Paralympics team heading to Rio 2016.

By the end of the first day of the four-day Games, Britain had fared well, taking home 15 gold medals, seven silver and six bronze but were trailing team US who had won more than 70 medals.