By Paul Osborne

Help for Heroes are supporting eight athletes enabling them to take part in the BPA's Paralympic Inspiration Programme in Sochi HelpforHeroesFebruary 21 - Help for Heroes are giving eight athletes the opportunity to experience a Paralympic Games as part of the British Paralympic Association's (BPA) Inspiration Programme in Sochi.

Announced today at at Tedworth House, a Help for Heroes run Recovery Centre in Wiltshire, the eight athletes, all of whom are wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans, will be supported to take part in the Paralympic Inspiration Programme and attend Sochi 2014, which is due to open on March 7. 

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to be involved with such a unique initiative to enable our country's wounded to experience the spirit of the winter Paralympics at Sochi, thanks to our partners at the British Paralympic Association," said Martin Colclough, head of sports recovery at Help for Heroes.

"It is our hope that this experience will inspire our Paralympic Inspiration Programme athletes to dedicate themselves to their training in order to achieve their dreams of competing in future summer and winter Paralympic Games.

"A Paralympic athlete that Help for Heroes have supported, is Jon Allan Butterworth and he was given the opportunity to attend a Help for Heroes funded Paralympic Sports camp in San Diego in 2009.

"He then went on to win three silver medals at the London 2012 Games; clearly these inspiration programmes work, and achieve great results.

"I can't wait to see what heights our new Paralympic athletes achieve in the future."

The aim of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme, which is run by the BPA, is to give aspiring Paralympians the opportunity to experience the unique environment of the Games.

Paralympics GB Chef de Mission Jenny Briscoe hopes the Paralympic Inspiration Programme will inspire the athletes to pursue a future in sport ©Getty ImagesParalympics GB Chef de Mission Jenny Briscoe hopes the Paralympic Inspiration Programme will inspire the athletes to pursue a future in sport ©Getty Images

The athletes being supported by Help for Heroes, all of which are currently active in sport, is the largest cohort of wounded servicemen and women to be included in the BPA's programme.

The list of athletes includes Veteran Scott Meenagh, Lance Corporal Corie Mapp, Veteran Michael Hall, Fusilier Andy Barlow GM, Veteran Grant Harvey, Marine Ray Lowrie, Lance Corporal Jordan Beecher and Veteran Lee Aitchison.

The Paralympic Inspiration Programme will provide both inspiration and education and is designed to help drive a new generation of athletes to aim for success.

Additionally, there will be a rigorous curriculum that the participants will undertake, with lessons about nutrition, media, anti-doping, competition planning and goal setting, as well as being expected to keep up with their current training programmes.

"We know that the Paralympic Games can be an incredibly powerful experience for all those who attend, and so we are delighted that we will be running our second Paralympic Inspiration Programme in Sochi so that we can both inspire and educate disabled athletes who may go on to compete one day for this country at a Paralympic Games," said Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission of ParalympicsGB at Sochi 2014.

"Our work with Help for Heroes is not only about supporting potential future Paralympians, it is about encouraging wounded, sick and injured personnel to consider sport in their future.

"So for these eight Help for Heroes participants, I hope that their experience in Sochi will inspire them to pursue their sporting dream, whatever that may be."

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