ParalympicsGB flagbearer & British Army veteran Owen Pick
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British Army Veteran To Carry GB Flag At Winter Paralympics​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Opening Ceremony

"I once fought for my country under this flag and now I get to represent my country under the same flag."

ParalympicsGB flagbearer & British Army veteran Owen Pick

An Afghanistan veteran who lost a limb to an IED will have the honour of carrying the GB flag when the 2018 Winter Paralympics begin on Friday in Pyeongchang.

Para-snowboarder Owen Pick, who served in Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment, is making his Games debut in South Korea.

He and team-mates James Barnes-Miller and Ben Moore will become the first British athletes in history to compete in para-snowboard at the Paralympic Games. Pick said:

"I'm super happy to be nominated as flagbearer for ParalympicsGB and really proud. I once fought for my country under this flag and now I get to represent my country under the same flag."

"Being one of the first ever Paralympic snowboarders for GB is a huge deal for me because it's so important to see the sport I love represented at one of the biggest sporting events in the world. I can't wait to get out there and race."

The 26-year-old was injured by an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan at the age of 18.

Initially, his leg was saved, but months of excruciating pain prompted the decision to have it amputated and Pick felt rejuvenated.

He is now poised to compete at his first Winter Paralympics on a snowboard - a sport he first encountered on TV while in his hospital bed.

Forces Network caught up with Owen earlier this year when he was named in the ParalympicsGB squad - just click below to watch...

ParalympicsGB is being represented by 17 athletes in a record five sports in Pyeongchang: para-Alpine skiing, para-snowboard, wheelchair curling and the two disciplines of Nordic skiing: cross country and biathlon.

Penny Briscoe OBE, Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB, said of Pick's selection: 

"To have someone from the new sport on the programme who has shown real commitment and progression through this cycle makes him the perfect choice and I hope that he enjoys the moment."

It comes four years after ParalympicsGB produced multiple personal best performances and won six medals (one gold, three silver, two bronze) in Sochi, Russia.

The haul included a first-ever Winter gold for Great Britain, won by Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans - with the RAF's Gary Smith taking on the role this year.

You can find out more about the forces athletes who'll be competing in Pyeongchang right here.

The Paralympic Winter Games take place from March 9-18.

Cover image courtesy of Adam Davy/PA Wire.

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