A FORMER Royal Marine who is studying at the University of Portsmouth is hoping to shoot to victory at the 2016 Invictus Games this week.
Jon Flint, of West Sussex, has travelled to Orlando, Florida, to compete in archery and swimming events at the international multi-sport event open to wounded, injured and sick serving personnel and veterans.
The 40-year-old was injured while on exercise on the Isle of Skye in 1996. He fell 30ft while abseiling at night and broke his back.
He did not realise the damage until 2010. He was eventually diagnosed with failed back surgery syndrome, meaning he has poor balance and is in constant pain.
Jon, who has undertaken operational tours in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, said: ‘People don’t necessarily realise I’m disabled, but I can be very vulnerable when I’m out among crowds. I’m in pain all the time and have to take a lot of heavy medication, which really slows me down and can make me forgetful.
‘My life now is a choice between pain or being alert enough to function properly.’
Despite his pain, Jon has already competed in the archery at the inaugural Invictus Games last year in London. This year will see him tackling the swimming event for the first time.
To prepare himself he has been training with the Fareham Nomads Swimming Club.
Jon is one of hundreds competing from 13 other countries.