Kiwis take part in warrior contest

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 26/02/2013

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A Linton-based soldier is one of three members of the defence force heading overseas to take part in the military equivalent of the paralympics, the Wounded Warriors.

Linton-based Corporal Jason Sturley, Staff Sergeant Nicholas Marfell and Sergeant Mark Soper, along with team manager and observer Warrant Officer 2 John Irving, will join more than 300 other military personnel taking part in the United States Marine Corps-run trials in San Diego, California, over six days beginning March 1.

The trials, hosted by the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, is part of the regiment's Warrior Athlete Reconditioning programme which provides opportunities for wounded, ill, and injured marines to train as athletes.

Athletes will include those from active duty, reserve and veteran marines, as well as international military personnel.

They will be competing in a seven-sport competition including archery, shooting, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, swimming, cycling, and track and field.

As well as competing, the NZ Defence Force team - who were all injured while serving on operational missions - will observe the soldier care processes in place with the US Marine Corps in order to improve the NZ Defence Force's understanding of rehabilitation for injured soldiers.

Corporal Sturley lost his left leg below the knee after injuring himself while serving in the Solomon Islands. He will compete in swimming, air rifle and compound bow archery.

Staff Sergeant Marfell and Sergeant Soper were both injured in Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Marfell will compete in field athletics, while Sergeant Soper will compete in compound bow archery and upright cycling. Both will compete in track athletics.

All three men have been invited to compete in the US Marines wheelchair basketball and volleyball tournaments.

Warrant Officer 2 Irving is the physical training adviser and senior rehabilitation instructor for the NZ Army.

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- Manawatu Standard

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