13th September 2014
ITALY'S LORETO DI LORETO SAYS HE WILL NEVER FORGET HIS TIME AT THE INAUGURAL INVICTUS GAMES AFTER COMPETING IN THE ROAD CYCLING
13 September 2014
Italian Loreto Di Loreto hailed the support of the British public after completing his two road cycling events at the inaugural Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover.
The 34-year-old finished fifth in the Men’s IHB1 Hand Bike Time Trial and seventh in the same discipline’s Circuit Race.
Di Loreto, who lives in Naples, was serving as a Corporal in the Carabinieri Force in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was travelling in on 28 January 2012 rolled and he suffered a spinal cord injury.
His rehabilitation from the accident took nearly two years and he was left paralysed from the waist down.
Corporal Di Loreto was the only cyclist representing Italy and he admitted he had been humbled by what he had seen at the Invictus Games.
“It’s a very good feeling to have the chance to compete at the Invictus Games. They have been excellently organised and it’s a big showcase for injured service personnel which is brilliant,” Corporal Di Loreto said.
“My race could have been better because I had some issues with the shift which was important because the track had a lot of variations. But to just take part and represent my country was fantastic.
“It’s very exciting to be representing Italy. I am very proud to now be serving my country in sport, especially as I am the only representative in the cycling.
“I want to say thank you to my whole country, my family and my friends for the support they have given me. And I also want to thank Prince Harry for giving us the opportunity to compete at these Games.
“The whole atmosphere at these Games has been really amazing. It is very exciting how much attention the British public have given this event and it is fantastic to see the support we are all getting – it has been very humbling.”
The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel championed by Prince Harry which uses the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country.
And Corporal Di Loreto is backing the Games to get bigger and better in the future and hopes he is given the chance to compete again next year.
“I believe this event will help to raise awareness back in Italy for service personnel and other people who have been injured,” he added.
“I think it will help people recognise what they have been through and what they have accomplished. It is a big showcase that will help people understand and be closer to us.
“The Games have been incredible and I hope they can continue. I will keep training every day so that I can continue to compete in future competitions.
“If I could get to the level that I can compete in the Paralympics in the future it would be absolutely incredible. I have only been training for two months so there is still a long way to go.”