Colchester: Paralympic cyclist Terry Byrne hopes to clinch Invictus Games success

Terry Byrne, from Colchester, is competing in the Invictus Games. In action in the velodrome.

Terry Byrne, from Colchester, is competing in the Invictus Games. In action in the velodrome. - Credit: Archant

A world champion Paralympic cyclist from Colchester is preparing to compete in the Invictus Games this Saturday.

Terry Byrne, 30, hopes to pedal his way to victory as he competes in the cycling road race and the standing one mile ride at the Lee Valley velopark.

The Invictus Games will see more than 400 competitors from 13 countries compete in a range of sports. The event, which Prince Harry has helped to organise, is for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.

A former soldier Byrne, originally from Blackpool, was in Colchester-based 2 Para. He joined the Army in 2002 and completed two tours of Iraq and four in Ireland.

It was while serving in Afghanistan in August 2008 that he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device causing him to lose his right leg and a little finger.

A keen boxer, rugby player and Tae Kwon Do fighter before his injury, Byrne turned to cycling after his amputations and just four months after his leg was removed he was selected for Great Britain’s Paralympic cycling team. The opportunity came through Help for Heroes and a Talent ID day.

In 2011 he won the World Championships, taking home a gold and silver medal in both team sprint and kilo competitions, breaking the world record twice in the same day.

Most Read

He said: “The Invictus Games are massive and it will be the biggest atmosphere I have ever competed in.

“With Prince Harry behind it I know there are a lot of people going down and tickets are all sold out. It will be busy and great.

“I can’t wait to do it, the atmosphere will be phenomenal.

“I think it is massively important. Everyone is behind the Army and injured soldiers, and it is important to showcase how far we have come and how strong we are.

“Sport is a massive part of rehab, it gives you something to do and aim for as well – you feel part of something. It is all good for the soul.

“It also shows the world again how well Britain can put on an event.”

As well as his cycle training, Byrne is also involved with a group which aims to be the first disabled team to complete the Explorers’ Grand Slam, a challenge to reach the North and South Poles, and the highest summit in each of the seven continents.

To achieve this he trained throughout July and summited Grand Paradiso in Italy before going to Russia and summiting Mount Elbris, which at 5,642m is the highest in Europe.

After the Invictus Games, Byrne plans to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and is aiming for a further two summits a year.

Byrne, who lives in Stanway, will be cheered on by his fiancee and family when he competes.

He added: “At the moment I am working full-time so I am training in the morning and at night, doing some turbo work at home and going out with Colchester Rovers cycle club too.

“I was away in July which hampered my training a bit and I hope I am strong enough on the day.”