Wednesday, August 10, 2011

British Afghanistan war amputees set to be torch bearers for the 2012 London Olympic Games

From The Mirror in the UK:

Afghanistan war amputees are set to be torch bearers for the 2012 London Games.

Paras Ben Parkinson (pictured) and Tom Neathway, ex-Royal Marine Mark Ormrod and Derek Derenalagi have all been nominated and hope to be among the first names ­announced on Wednesday.

Mark, a triple ­amputee, said: “It would be a big honour to represent my country in this way. Thousands have been ­nominated but there’s agood chance some of the Services lads will carry the flame on part of its journey.”

Ben, 27, the most seriously wounded soldier to survive Afghanistan, said he was ­excited and proud at the prospect of taking part.

He lost both his legs in a landmine blast in 2006 and suffered 37 separate injuries. But he has amazed doctors with his recovery and has even completed tandem parachute jumps to raise money for other wounded soldiers.

Private Derenalagi, 36, of 2 Mercians, lost both legs above the knee when he was blasted 30 yards out of his Snatch Land Rover in 2007.

Colonel Stuart Tootal, who commanded the Paras in ­Helmand in 2006, said: “A ­significant number of wounded servicemen ­carrying the torch at some stage would highlight what they have sacrificed in ­serving their country.”

The 70-day Olympic flame relay will tour Britain from May 18 to July 27 with the 8,000 torch bearers being chosen from a ­combination of judging panels and random ­selection.