Former RAF Nurse Joanna Martin has been selected to represent the United Kingdom in three events at this month's Invictus Games in Florida. Joanna will take on indoor rowing, handcycling and discus, hoping to bring home a Gold medal.
Joanna, who lives in Helensburgh, has joined 110 other wounded, injured and sick UK military personnel and veterans to compete in the second Invictus Games competition, following the inaugural event in London in 2014.
Joanna, 54, explained sport had become an integral part of her rehabilitation after a 20ft fall during a training exercise in 2005 left her paralysed from the chest down. Joanna, who was stationed at RAF Leuchars at the time, had been preparing for her second tour of Iraq.
She said: "I used to row before I had my accident. I did not go back to it, I took up handcycling instead and I still go out three times a week with a group of running friends. Then a year ago I had the opportunity to try out rowing, and that was it!
"I like rowing because, as an athlete with limited mobility, it is very hard to get an aerobic workout when you can only use your arms. It is quite hard to get your heart working hard. With rowing you really feel that you are working hard and you feel the health benefits.
"Meeting all the other Invictus athletes at the launch of the team was fantastic, it was very exciting.
"Being selected for the team came as a huge surprise. That is what is so fantastic about the Invictus Games it is such a huge range of ages, guys, girls, people who have been injured and are just starting out in sport to elite sportsmen and women.
"I am so looking forward to competing and to visiting Florida. I have never seen crowds like there will be out there. I am a little cautious though as the handcycling events will be held outside – coming from Scotland I'm not used to that heat!"
Joanna is an ambassador for the RAF Benevolent Fund, after the charity stepped in to help her live more independently following her injury. The Fund helped to pay for adaptations to Joanna's home to make it more wheelchair-friendly.