Norfolk RAF veteran striving for Invictus Games glory
When Naomi Adie was medically discharged from the Royal Air Force (RAF) she had no idea what direction her life would take.
The 38-year-old of Holme Hale, near Swaffham, was forced to leave the service in 2014 due to a spinal injury but quickly turned to sport as a way to overcome mental and physical challenges.
And now she will represent the United Kingdom at the Invictus Games, which kick off on Friday October 19.
Mrs Adie, who lives with husband Stephen, 42, and daughter Vesta, nine, has been supported by the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) on her journey to the games.
Having joined the RAF in 2000 as a survival equipment fitter, which included training pilots to ditch safely into the water, she suffered an injury which resulted in her premature discharge.
She said: “I hurt my spine in 2001 but I still participated in two tours of Afghanistan. Unfortunately my conditioned worsened and it became too much to carry on and has resulted in me being reliant on a wheelchair to get about sometimes.”
The sportswoman has represented the RAF’s field hockey team between 2002 and 2008, and took up para ice hockey. Now she has added wheelchair racing to her many sporting achievements.
“I felt it was important to confront some of my anxieties and insecurities and by selecting a solo sport, I have done just that.
“I have been asked to captain the athletics team at the games which is an immense honour for myself and my family.”
Looking to the future, she is aiming to become a classified athlete for wheelchair racing and para ice hockey and has ambitions to coach people in a similar position to herself.
The RAFA has supported Mrs Adie’s transition from active service by providing funding for static racing rollers.
The Invictus Games are for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans. Over 500 competitors from 18 nations will compete in 11 adaptive sports in Sydney, Australia between October 20 to 27.