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Help for Heroes unveils sports recovery centre for wounded soldiers

Wounded servicemen train at the new £3m sports recovery centre at Tedworth House. Photo: ITV News

You can't help but be impressed by the new sporting facilities being provided for wounded servicemen at the Tedworth House recovery centre in Wiltshire.

Charity Help for Heroes have invested £3 million to transform the former stately home into an ultra-modern training centre as part of a new partnership with the British Paralympic Association.

Help for Heroes founder Bryn Parry said even though they imagined only eight to 15 participants will make the Paralympics, all those who use the facility will benefit:

The state-of-the-art equipment includes an anti-gravity treadmill which supports 80% of the athlete's bodyweight and helps the badly-injured learn to walk and run again.

Within a five minute's drive there are 19 Paralympian sports on offer, from cycling to canoeing and horse-riding.

There's even a moving ski slope based on the same principles as a traditional treadmill that is helping people who have lost limbs to learn to ski.

"It gives people a goal," said cycling champion Mark Cavendish, visiting the facility.

"Whether it's just learning to ski again or they want to compete in the Paralympics or the winter Games, it's a goal to reach."

It's hoped the Great Britain Paralympic team will benefit from what is being achieved at Tedworth.

Military members of the London 2012 Paralympic squad attended today's opening along with others hoping to compete for medals in Rio in four years time.Captain Luke Sinnott lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2010, and is now a member of the British Paralympic sailing squad.

He said: "Winning medals was the ultimate dream, but every one of the hundreds of wounded service men and women who would get to use Tedworth house would all be winners."

Martin Colclough, head of sports recovery at Help for Heroes, said the programme helped athletes "reconnect with how they were before they were injured."

"You can associate sport with the things you did before these tragic events unfolded."

I met up again with former Corporal Ross Austen who ITV News followed for a year during his difficult recovery.

After more than twenty operations he had to make the agonising decision to have his leg amputated.

Having once said it would have been better if he died on the battlefield, he now has his eyes on a place in the Paralympic GB triathlon team for Rio 2016.