Bury St Edmunds: Former Royal Anglian soldier from Bury St Edmunds makes history as he becomes Britain’s first gold medallist at the Invictus Games
- Credit: PA
A former soldier from Suffolk has become Britain’s first gold medallist of the Invictus Games after winning the 100metres.
Alex Tate, 24, described competing at the sporting spectacle as the “best rehabilitation any soldier could have”.
The victory was a double celebration for the British Armed Forces team as the 100metres winner was closely followed by teammate Kushal Limbu, a former Gurkha rifleman.
The former private, of Bury St Edmunds, lost his left leg when he was blown up in Afghanistan in 2012 while serving with 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment.
He said he had to throw himself over the finish line to beat his team-mate in the sprint race for competitors with one or two limbs missing below the knee.
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Mr Tate, whose mother, father, sister and friends were among the cheering crowds, said: “My hamstring was playing up a little bit at the end of that race.
“It went about 10 metres before the end, that’s why I had to pretty much throw myself over the line.”
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He said he “had a feeling” he might win a medal because of the heats results, but had not expected to take gold, adding: “He is a tough guy, he’s won the Warrior Games.”
Mr Tate, who recently left the armed forces, paid tribute to the appreciative crowds cheering on the competitors.
He added: “This is probably the best rehabilitation any soldier could have. I suffered from depression and quite bad PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
“It’s given me something to focus on and keep my mind off other things.”
Prince Harry, who is the driving force behind the Games, said he was “thrilled” when asked for his assessment of the first day of the competition for wounded serving or veteran, servicemen and women from across the globe.
He was joined by the Duke of Cambridge and the casually dressed royal brothers mingled freely with the competitors, spectators and press at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre.
Kate, who is expecting her second child, was also supposed to attend but is still suffering from acute morning sickness but the Prince of Wales was present and, as planned, arrived later in the afternoon.
Mr Limbu, who took silver in the race, said he was “thrilled” by the experience.
The 32-year-old, from Maidstone, Kent, who had to have both legs amputated below the knee when his vehicle was hit by an IED in Musa Qala, Afghanistan in 2008, previously won the 100m and 200m races in the Warrior Games - Prince Harry’s inspiration for the Invictus Games.
He said: “It’s bigger than that of course because there’s more nations involved.”