Rifleman Michael Swain MBE joined 3 Rifles in November 2007. He deployed to Afghanistan in September 2009 and was struck by an IED in Helmand Province less than 2 months later. Aged 19, he lost both legs above the knee, and was later medically discharged from the Army.
The long journey to walking again was fuelled by Michael’s determination and personal courage, and in 2014 he became the youngest military personnel to receive an MBE by the Queen. Michael’s next challenge is competeing at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney later this year.
Now in it’s fourth season, theInvictus Games was created by HRH Prince Harry in 2014 as a competition for injured or sick armed service personnel and veterans. The international adaptive multi-sport event includes sports such as wheelchair basketball, volleyball, and indoor rowing. For his Invictus debut, Michael will be competing in cycling time trial and road race.
For many, Invictus has been instrumental in their recovery, providing a focus and a goal, as well as recognising their colossal achievements. Michael describes team training as like being part of the Army again: “the humour amongst everyone is incredible. Everyone is bouncing off one and another, but at the same time everyone is supporting and helping each other be the best they can on and off the field”.
The games will be held in October 2018 in Sydney, Australia. When asked what he is most looking forward to, Michael’s response is simple: “competing in the games with people that have been through similar experiences as myself and refused to give up and kept fighting through their injury or illness”.
Michael was one of the first wounded riflemen to be introduced to Just Rifles, who he now describes as like family: “I could turn to and approach them at anytime in my life”.