War hero’s success at world athletics event

Joe Townsend pictured at the event in  Madrid
Joe Townsend pictured at the event in Madrid

Wounded Eastbourne ex-serviceman Joe Townsend finished a close fourth at the 2015 Madrid ITU World Paratriathlon event last weekend.

The former Royal Marine, who is supported by the Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme, faced a tough field in the event.

Returning from shoulder surgery earlier this year, spectators said Townsend was characteristically tough on the challenging course, finishing just two minutes behind the bronze medallist from Italy, Giovanni Achenza.

The 27-year-old was wounded in 2008 after standing on an anti-tank mine. Joe lost both of his legs in the blast and was immediately flown back to Camp Bastion and then onto Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where he spent five weeks in a critical care ward.

Since 2008, Joe has helped inspire the current generation of wounded and show there really is life after injury. Joe, who got married last year, has competed in many endurance races including the Bolton Iron Man, twice, and various other triathlons. In June 2012, he took on the world’s toughest cycling race, RAAM, cycling 3,000 miles across America to raise money for Help for Heroes.

Joe has been supported by Help for Heroes since he was first injured which has helped him compete as an international athlete and his goal is to take part in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Help for Heroes has supported Joe by paying for specialist equipment and competition entries.

Martin Colclough at the programme said, “We’re extremely proud of Joe and his result. He is a fantastic example of what wounded, injured and sick service men and women can do post injury, by using the power of adaptive sport throughout their recovery.”

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