A WOUNDED veteran has found renewed purpose through sport and is on a journey to compete at next year’s Winter Paralympic Games.

Steve Arnold, a former staff sergeant from Tidworth, plus two other hopefuls, is being supported by Help for Heroes on its Path to Pyeongchang programme.

Steve is this month competing at a World Cup event in Canada in a bid to qualify as a para-Nordic skier for Team GB at next year’s games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Steve served in the Royal Engineers and was in the army for 16 years, serving in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, but his life turned upside down in April 2011.

He said: “I was leading a routine search operation in Afghanistan when I stood on an IED (improvised explosive device) and lost both of my legs above the knee.

“Having your military career end in one split moment at just 31 years old, when you’ve just been selected for promotion, is hard. I didn’t know what I’d do next and how I’d support my family.”

It was at Headley Court, Epsom, Steve was introduced to hand cycling and Help for Heroes.

He added: “Cycling got me out of my hospital bed and it gave me the freedom and adrenalin I’d been missing. I’d never cycled even when I still had my legs - it was exciting and a new sport. Through Help for Heroes I was also introduced to Nordic skiing in January 2017 and I loved it straight away. It felt like another new beginning and I was extremely grateful.

“The real inspiration for me is being the best I can be. I want to show my family that although I was badly injured, I am still the same Steve that I always was. Life goes on and I’m motivated to show them I’m still happy and doing something I love.”

Steve is also determined to create a lasting impact by inspiring others to try Nordic skiing.

Help for Heroes has funded the Armed Forces Para Snow sport team to support the Para Nordic Programme, including supporting the three athletes through the elite programme with attendance at the World Cup and World Championship events.

Steve hopes to compete in cross country skiing and biathlon which tests both physical and mental strength.

In cross country, there are three events ranging from the 1km sprint through to the 20km endurance event.

In the biathlon, para-athletes balance the physical demands of the undulated ski courses before coming onto the range to shoot five targets the size of a five pence piece from a distance of 10 metres.

Steve and the other para-athletes will find out in February 2018 whether they are part of Team GB at the Paralympics in South Korea. It would be the first time since Nagano 1998 that there would be Great Britain representation in para-Nordic skiing.