An injured Perthshire veteran has brought home a gold medal after winning the wheelchair tennis competition at this year’s US Warrior Games.
Corporal John Willans, from Perth, was one of 20 wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans chosen to represent the UK.
The 37-year-old won the gold medal in the wheelchair tennis last week in the Department of Defence Warrior Games in Tampa Bay, Florida, partnered with Staff Sargent Brian Biviano of the US Air Force, who he only met for the first time on the day of the competition.
Around 400 competitors representing teams from the army, marine corps, navy, air force, coastguard, UK armed forces, Canadian forces and the Australian defence force took part in the competition.
John was medically discharged from the Royal Engineers in March this year after a motorbike crash left with him with serious leg and knee injuries.
The accident happened in July 2017 while he was on leave following a six-month deployment in South Sudan on a UN peacekeeping mission.
Following three operations on his leg, which was crushed into 17 pieces, John spent six months in a wheelchair and another six on crutches. Following his final operation last August, John can now walk with a stick, with more rehabilitation still to come.
The father-of-two, who has served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, accessed psychological wellbeing support from Help for Heroes and attends their Band of Brothers peer support events in Scotland before getting involved in adaptive sport through the charity.
John, who was supported in Tampa by mum Elaine Fairlie and son Joshua, said: “Sport has been a massive help in my recovery – trying new sports and adapting things I used to play before my accident to suit my situation now.
“I was over the moon to be selected to go to the Warrior Games. To have the chance to compete in such an event is an honour and privilege.
“It was nice to see so many people from so many different countries, it was like one big family.”
John, who plays wheelchair basketball and rugby with Dundee Dragons, got his first cap with Scotland’s national wheelchair rugby team in April.
He has also been selected to take part in the UK trials for the Invictus Games 2020 is now hoping to be selected for the Wheelchair Rugby World Cup in 2021.