Medal joy as Olaf tastes success at Prince Harry’s Invictus Games
PUBLISHED: 11:45 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:33 11 October 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Almost 20 years after he nearly died in a motorcycle crash, a Norfolk man has moved closer to achieving his dream of competing at the Paralympics after winning Great Britain’s first medal at the Invictus Games.
Olaf Jones, 54, lost his left arm in a crash while racing at the Isle of Man TT in 1997.
The former Royal Air Force Sergeant made the trip to Toronto, Canada as part of the 90-strong Great British team made up of injured, wounded and sick military personnel and veterans.
He competed in shot put, discus and archery. But the first medal for Mr Jones and Team GB came at the opening event of the games, in the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge, putting his previous racing experience to use, picking up silver.
“It was an incredible privilege to kick off the games, after the first event we turned and looked to the cameras and said ‘Okay UK, now it’s your turn’ – let’s see what the rest of the team can do, and the team did do very well.”
Mr Jones, of East Tuddenham, went on to perform well in his other events picking up a bronze in shot put, which is his weakest event and another bronze in discuss which Mr Jones says he was disappointed with as he did not throw very well.
The final days of the event were spent competing in three days of archery where Mr Jones picked up his final medal, a bronze, in the Team Open Compound Final. But halfway through the shooting event, he ran into a problem.
“When we qualified for the archery finals my bow actually broke,” he said. “And if it wasn’t for the American team that would have been me out of the event - it was a catastrophic failure.
“The Americans came over and helped me out. Prince Harry found out about this and he went over a personally thanked them. He was on hand at almost every event.
“At the end of the day it is a competition but away from that the camaraderie was outstanding.”