Mark Abel, a 49 year old army veteran originally from Aboyne, has been selected to represent the UK at this year’s Invictus Games.
Mark, son of Allan and Audrey Abel, lived and grew up in Aboyne where he attended Aboyne Primary and Aboyne Academy before pursuing a career in the army.
In January 2011, Mark went through a life-changing experience, losing his sight overnight leaving him registered severely visually impaired/blind.
Later that year he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Undeterred by his illness and blindness and supported by Blind Veterans UK, Mark was able to return to work after extensive training.
He is now continuing to pursue other challenges, already an established alpine skier, with the Armed Forces Para Snowsport Team.
Mark has now embarked on another International Challenge, representing the UK and competing in the Invictus Games 2016.
He said: “I applied for selection process back in December 2015, and was invited to do trials which were held at the University of Bath at the end of January.
“My focus on the games was to gauge my performance and ability in order for me to compete in two years time, giving me the opportunity and time to train.
“I was initially selected as a reserve for the team and continued with my own training programme as well as attending team training sessions.
“I received a call in the last week of March from the Team Delegation, informing me that I had been promoted to the team from reserve to represent the United Kingdom as a competitor for the Invictus Games being held at the ESPN World of Sport in Orlando Florida in May 2016.
“I am so proud and honoured to be representing the UK at the games.
“Being in London at Buckingham Palace with all the other team members made up from wounded, injured and sick servicemen, servicewoman and veterans from our Armed Forces for the launch with Prince Harry as patron was a great day.
“ I would like to thank everyone who has supported me especially my wife Anita Abel and my family.
“I would also like to thank my fellow team members, Help4Heroes, the MOD, The Royal British Legion, Jaguar Land Rover, Blind Veterans UK , Worcester Swimming Club and Nuffield Health Worcester.”