Sport

Team UK Athletes Chosen For Invictus Games Driving Challenge

The Driving Challenge is the traditional curtain-raiser at the Invictus Games.

The two Team UK athletes who will represent their country in the Invictus Games Driving Challenge competition have been announced.

Team UK captain Dot Perkins, who was announced as skipper in May, and Daniel Bingley will represent their country in the event at the 2018 Games in Sydney after winning a preliminary challenge at Eastnor Castle where 29 British athletes went for the two places.

The competition serves as a traditional curtain-raiser for the Games, with Team UK’s Olaf Jones and Gareth Paterson grabbing a silver last year in Toronto.

The two 2017 silver medalists were qualified for the event at a similar challenge event last July.

After securing his place to represent Team UK in the Driving Challenge, Bingley was quick to describe the strain of the task saying: "Everyone knows how to drive a car but to do it tactically and [with] precision is quite difficult.

"When you put that on a time base and obviously you are very competitive as well, it makes it a lot more challenging in that aspect of trying to achieve what you are trying to achieve."

His co-pilot Perkins was hoping to use the day for a team mission but explained that the competitive nature of the challenge was too much to resist.

He said: "For me, it was spending the day with all of the rest of the team. That’s all I’ve come for today and then the competitive edge cut in from the first time I sat in that driving seat.

“You’re like ‘Oh no, this is it, I’ll focus on this today now’ but to come away with your name announced in front of all of your teammates is unbelievable. It's brilliant."

The Jaguar Land Rover challenge is a test of skill and co-operation as two members of each nation tackle a course designed to encourage team-work and cohesion.

Famous sporting faces were at Eastnor Castle to announce the winners as former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton was a guest at the event alongside ex-England captain Jason Robinson.

Warburton has recently retired from Rugby Union after a 12-year stint in the game and said he can see how the Invictus Games is an attractive proposition for the competitors.

"To still be involved in competition and be part of a team, and have that sense of belonging, must be fantastic," he said.

"I think it’s a fantastic thing for them to be involved in, particularly when they have probably had careers where they’ve been in high-pressure situations and been very competitive.

"It’s a good way to continue that career doing the Invictus Games."

Robinson was part of England’s Rugby Union World Cup-winning team from 2003 and took part in the inaugural Invictus Games in 2014.

He played in an exhibition wheelchair rugby match in London alongside Prince Harry and has kept a close eye on the games ever since.

Discussing the power of the event, Robinson said: "All of a sudden being part of that, seeing the crowds, speaking to people, hearing their stories, their challenges and seeing at what level they perform, it's mindblowing.

"If you've never seen the Invictus Games, go to one of the events and you’ll be hooked for life.

"It is inspiring but the competitiveness of them, I love that, being ex-rugby."