I AM: Top ten success for Luke at the Invictus Games

Luke Delahunty with his support team at the Invictus Games
Luke Delahunty with his support team at the Invictus Games

A competitor who has achieved three top ten finishes at this year’s Invictus Games is making a name for himself in the host city - both on and off the sports arena.

Luke Delahunty, 43, of Aylesbury, is part of the 110 strong Great Britain team at the multi-sport event for injured or wounded former service personnel which is taking place in Florida in the United States this week.

Luke Delahunty

Luke Delahunty

As well as being recognised for his success in both hand cycling and rowing, Mr Delahunty’s five-strong fan club ensured he was the subject of an article by local paper the Orlando Sentinel.

The I Am Team Luke group consist of his close friends Bill and Helen Backus, Renata Kudelkova, Mary Doyle and Paul Clemas.

The group have been wearing T-shirts with I Am Team Luke printed on them and have been cheering him on.

They have also been sporting black and gold pom-poms ensuring that they got themselves noticed.

Mrs Backus and her husband met Luke at the Bell pub in Stoke Mandeville.

They all served in the Royal Air Force and formed a bond.

Ms Kudelkova works alongside Mr Delahunty at the spinal injuries centre in Stoke Mandeville where he helps rehabilitate patients.

He met Ms Doyle through a charity called Flying Scholarships for Disabled People while he has known Mr Clemas since school.

Mr Delahunty finished in joint sixth in the individual rowing final on Monday.

Earlier in the day, he finished seventh in the men’s hand bike time trial and fourth in the men’s hand bike race.

Mrs Backus told the Orlando Sentinel: “It is a real privilege to be here, an absolute privilege.

“Not only is Luke a friend socially, but we’ve got the military connection.

“We have all seen things and been through things.”

Mr Delahunty, who previously served as an RAF cadet was paralysed after an accident in 1996 when his motorbike crashed with a tractor on his way to work at RAF Honington in Suffolk.

He served for eight years in the RAF Regiment as a Senior Aircraftman, completing tours in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Croatia and Bosnia.

The injuries he sustained in the motorbike crash led to him being medically discharged from the RAF in 1998.

Last year Mr Delahunty was involved in Contact, a show at the Waterside Theatre which aimed to tell the stories of local members of the armed forces community.

Mr Delahunty told the Orlando Sentinel: “I remember having a conversation with one of the other patients when I was doing my rehab.

“I am like, ‘What in the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life?’

“Here I am, 20 years later, being an international athlete.

“You don’t know about the potential that you still have.”

The Invictus Games is an international Paralympic-style multi-sport event created by Prince Harry.