James gets chance to pedal to a medal

James Cumming. Picture: comp
James Cumming. Picture: comp
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FORMER army captain James Cumming has been selected for the 130-strong British Armed Forces team ahead of the inaugural Invictus Games in London next month.

James, who originally comes from Morningside, will take part in the four-day sporting extravaganza for wounded soldiers.

He will compete as part of the cycling team in the one-lap time trial and circuit categories after coming through an intensive bout of training and trials.

James was serving with the Royal Regiment of Scotland when an accident during SAS selection resulted in a slipped disk in his neck, leaving him with nerve damage and a paralysed arm.

He now works for Barclays in London.

As part of his road to recovery, he joined a group of fellow wounded, injured and ill servicemen and veterans on a 445-mile six-day bike ride from Edinburgh to London.

Since then, James has continued to cycle, finding long-distance rides that challenge him more and more each time.

“Due to my injury, cycling is the only sport I can do – my one release,” said the 32-year-old former pupil of Merchiston Castle School.

The first ever Invictus Games, which will feature 400 competitors from across the world, will take place in London in September and include archery, athletics, wheelchair basketball, rugby, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, swimming, sitting volleyball and a special driving challenge.

A total of 14 different nations have been invited to compete at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Lee Valley Athletics Centre – two venues used in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A closing ceremony on September 14 – the day after James competes – will be headlined by the Dave Grohl-led American rockers the Foo Fighters.

James said: “It’s a great honour to be able to represent the nation and our armed forces as we compete on the sports field against those who have been our allies in combat.

“What I am most looking forward to is the camaraderie and being part of a strong Great Britain squad, as that sense of a team is what I miss the most about service life.”

Selection is based on criteria such as commitment to training, performance, progression in the sport and feedback from Sports Recovery coaches.

Martin Colclough, British team manager for the sporting contest, hailed the concept of the Invictus Games.

He said: “Help for Heroes is delighted to have played a part in the training and development of the British armed forces as part of our Sports Recovery programme.

“Sport plays such an important part in the recovery of our ill and injured and it’s fantastic we’ve been able to provide them with this opportunity.”