Southsea soldier set to shoot for Britain at Invictus Games
HE HAS fought for the nation on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now injured war hero Angelito Barbierato will once again be fighting for Great Britain – this time on the sports field.
On Sunday, the 31-year-old Lance Corporal will represent the nation’s armed forces in Orlando, Florida, as part of the 2016 Invictus Games.
The five-day competition – set up by Prince Harry – sees injured servicemen from Britain going head-to-head against other wounded warriors from 13 different countries.
Angelito, known as Beppe, is part of the archery team that will be shooting for victory this week.
Speaking to The News before jetting off to the Sunshine State, Angelito, of Southsea, said: ‘I’m really excited about it.
‘It’s going to be an amazing experience. I never thought I would get here, to be honest.’
Angelito has been in the army for 13 years. He is part of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and has completed two tours of Iraq and one of Afghanistan.
But a few years ago the keen sportsman suffered a major setback after seriously breaking his ankle.
The fracture knocked his confidence and left him disheartened.
He said: ‘It started off as wear and tear. Then I started to get arthritis.
‘I fell 3ft and broke everything from the knee down. It had a huge impact on me.’
He now suffers with an osteochondral lesion – an injury or small fracture of the cartilage surface of the ankle which affects his ability to run.
‘I’m a very competitive guy and I love playing sports but instantly it took all of that away from me,’ he added.
Angelito only took up archery about 18 months ago to fill his sporting void.
In that time he has risen through the rankings. In December he came 80th in the country at the UK indoors championship – a huge achievement considering how long he has been shooting for.
Angelito said the moment he was told he was going to the Invictus Games was ‘incredible’.
Speaking of the competition, he said: ‘A lot of soldiers feel a bit useless when they get injured. But we’re not. This is just a way to show the world that we can still do amazing things.’
The UK team also includes double amputee Dave Henson MBE from Whiteley.
The opening ceremony is on Sunday evening. The games features 10 events.