Whittingham man wins gold at Invictus Games

Kieran Wood competing at the Invictus Games
Kieran Wood competing at the Invictus Games

An army veteran from Whittingham has won gold at this year’s Invictus Games as part of Team GB

Archer Kieran Wood, 29, was one of three members of GB’s archery team to win the men’s team open recurve event in Toronto at the weekend, beating the USA and which rested on two final shots taken by him.

He was supported and cheered on at the event by mum Lesley, sister Megan and brother Rory.

Andrew, Kieran’s dad, says they are all absolutely delighted for Kieran, who achieved a place in the three-strong UK team after being one of the three highest point scorers of the archers during previous events.

Andrew said: “In the semi-finals they knocked out France and in the final came up against the USA and Kieran was the last competitor to shoot and needed to score two tens (bulls eyes) with the last two arrows, which gave them maximum points to win the gold.

“It was unbelievable. I am speechless... overwhelmed and so proud of him. He keeps breaking all records doesn’t he?”

And as to Kieran, Andrew says: “Kieran is very cool with it and takes it all in his stride, but he is highly delighted.”

Besides receiving a gold medal for the team event Kieran also came eighth in his individual archery competition and has been awarded a medal from the GB team for outstanding achievement and going above and beyond what was required of him.

Kieran, he said, is now forging a role for himself as a professional athlete and trains with the GB paralympic team to try for future events.

“This is his life. He has made a job for himself as an athlete,” he said.

This was the third time Kieran has competed at the Invictus Games, says Andrew.

He got a bronze for rowing in London and then in Florida competed in cycling, rowing and archery, starting as a novice archer.

He then decided to go full-time as an archer.

Earlier this year Kieran said being part of the Invictus Games, spearheaded by Prince Harry for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans, to take part in sport, had helped him focus and stay motivated to achieve his goals.

He said: “It has given me a great sense of being part of a team and I feel proud that I have achieved so much. It has helped me get to where I am today.”

Kieran has to use his mouth to shoot an arrow, due to weakness in his right hand side.

As in the Paralympic Games, competitors are placed in categories where their limitations are similar, to allow for a level playing field.

The former Oliverson’s Primary and Broughton High school pupil suffered severe brain damage in a car crash while home on leave after a tour of duty in Iraq with the Duke of Lancaster regiment in 2007.

He spent seven months in hospital, before being transferred to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court. At that stage, he couldn’t walk or sit up and could say only three words.

Since then, regular physio, speech therapy and daily gym sessions have enabled Kieran take up a range of sports.

To make the team, Kieran trained week-in-week-out in Brockholes near Blackburn on 70m courses, and had to go for trials across the country.

He was one of 90 people in the British team who flew out to Canada on September 21, prior to the games starting on September 26.

The Invictus Games saw more than 550 athletes from 17 allied nations compete in 12 adaptive sports.

Prince Harry was inspired to create the international Invictus Games after a visit in 2013 to the US-based Warrior Games for wounded, ill and injured military personnel and veterans and said: “These games shine a spotlight on the unconquerable character of servicemen and women and their families. They highlight the competitors’ ‘Invictus Games spirit’.

“They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together. These games have been a display of the very best of the human spirit.”