Lincoln woman to represent Team UK at Invictus Games

A Lincoln woman whose arm was partly paralysed after falling from a horse will compete for Team UK at the Invictus Games later this month.

The Invictus Games, which will be held in Sydney this year, Australia from October 20, is an event created by Prince Harry in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in various sports.

Debbie O’Connell, 30, from Lincoln, was discharged from the army in 2017 and will represent the nation in athletics and cycling.

Debbie served as a gunner in the Royal Artillery, riding the horses that pull gun carriages on ceremonial occasions, but a bad fall from a horse damaged her shoulder and paralysed part of her arm.

The team of 72 competitors selected to represent the UK at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, pictured with Prime Minister Theresa May.
Photo: Help for Heroes website

She said: “Since my injury I have felt dejected, ashamed, and had to leave the Army. As a Physical Training Instructor I was no longer being able to do the thing I knew; that not only provided me with a release from my everyday stresses but also made me feel good.

“The Games gives me the opportunity to do something I believe in, not just for myself but for the team, and proudly represent my country once again.

“Feeling empowered to turn things around is a big factor too. I now have the drive and determination to pick myself up, focus and train again for a good cause – me.

“To be part of something with like-minded people who are going through similar trials and ordeals is encouraging me to eat better, think better and recover a part of me that has been lost.”

A team of 72 competitions were selected to represent the UK at the Invictus Games and the athletes are flying out to Australia on October 15.