Prince Harry cheers on Mansfield runner Luke to Invictus gold
A Mansfield soldier who was blown up and suffered serious leg injuries in Afghanistan has again struck gold in the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, this week.
After winning the gold medal for the 1500m in the London Invictus Games back in 2014, Luke Wigman, 29, was determined to retain his title.
He competed in the track finals on Tuesday in the Invictus sports complex and duly won the 1500m race again.
HRH Prince Harry was seen cheering him on from the sidelines after having given him words of encouragement before the race. The Prince has been incredibly supportive of Luke and his journey towards another victory.
A former Selston man, Luke also took part in the 400m and scored a bronze medal to add to the ever growing collection of awards.
The Invictus Games were set up by Prince Harry for injured servicemen from all countries.
Luke was incapacitated in 2011 during his second tour of Afghanistan.
“I was training with Afghan soldiers and stood on an improvised explosive device,” he explained.
“This caused a complete loss of sensation to my left knee, and I had very limited movement.”
Luke was medically discharged from the RAF in 2013. However, the former paratrooper has fought his way back to fitness, adopting running as part of his rehab, and aims to be one of the fastest runners in the country.
“I’ve put in so much hard work and training leading up to the games, I was definitely aiming for gold again,” he said.
“I just raced my race, I didn’t think about anyone else. I’m over the moon.”
Not only did Luke win the race, but he also pushed out a new personal best of four minutes, 19 seconds.
“It’s been an incredible experience, especially with all the amazing support from my partner Nikki Flood, and Richard Flood, film-maker, who is out here documenting my journey. Thank you both so much.
“Also a huge thank you to my coach Paul Whittingham for getting me in this shape, I couldn’t have done it without you!”
Luke’s next goal is to complete the World Marathon Challenge, which is seven marathons in seven countries in seven days next January.
His hero, and an inspiration to many, Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, has also been supportive saying: “Good luck Luke in the Invictus Games, and all the best for the World Marathon Challenge.”
In increasing demand as an inspirational speaker, Luke has told his story across the world and recently returned from Portugal where he addressed an athletes’ training camp, inspiring and encouraging many athletes of all nationalities and abilities on what can be achieved if you maintain a positive attitude in life.
Luke added: “My talks hopefully help to inspire people to overcome adversity and push on through physical and mental barriers.
“I’ve spoken at international training camps, the House of Commons, to businesses, award ceremonies and schools.”
As well as his sporting achievements, Luke continues to serve his community by working for the East Midlands Ambulance Service and is an ambassador for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the charity that helped his transition back into civilian life.