Ex-serviceman has sights set on Paralympic games

SUCCESS Dave Henson competing at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games
SUCCESS Dave Henson competing at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games
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AN ex-serviceman supported by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme has won a silver medal at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games.

Dave Henson, from Fareham, competed in the T42 200m event, posting an impressive time of 26.53, finishing just behind Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead (25.79).

A former Army captain, Dave served with the Royal Engineers but lost both of his legs after he stepped on an improvised explosive device in February 2011 when on patrol in Helmand, Afghanistan.

It was during his rehabilitation that Dave found a new passion for sport, first competing in a series of open water swims with his family to raise funds for military charities, before taking up Sitting Volleyball.

In 2012 Dave returned to work, assisting other injured servicemen and women, but soon began competing in Paralympic sports as part of an exhibition team at the Warrior Games, an inter-services sports competition for the US Military branches, supported and led by Help for Heroes.

Dave returned to the Warrior Games as the captain of the British Armed Forces team in May 2013, winning medals in the swimming pool, on the volleyball court and on the track. This first experience of track racing inspired him to work further, pairing up with his sprint coach, Roger Keller.

The T42 event was the first time that Dave competed in a solo track event.

He said: ‘It’s a massive confidence boost for me, to follow Richard’s lead into this stadium is something which a couple of years ago I could never have dreamed of.

‘This was an eye-opener for me and first time competing here. I’m still learning but it is a good place to be at the moment.’

The Help for Heroes Sports Recovery Programme helps introduce military personnel into Paralympic sports and has supported Dave throughout.

Now Dave has his sights set on pushing himself even further in the sport and is hoping to be selected as part of Team GB for the World Championships in Doha, with the Rio Paralympic Games his ultimate goal in 2016.