Ross Austen, 33, took up power lifting this year after sustaining injuries to his right leg during active service. Now he’s going for gold.

An ex-Army commando from Fremington who lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan has set his sights on reaching the 2020 Paralympics.

Ross Austen, 33, also sustained injuries to his right leg while in active service in 2008, but this year has taken up para-powerlifting.

And, despite only starting to train in January, he now has a British Championships gold medal to his name.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “It was only my third competition and I’d been training hard for it.

“I thought I might have a chance of a bronze medal but I never in a million years thought I’d win it.

“The European Championships are in Hungary in December and the next aim now is to try to get onto the British squad.”

Ross, who has gone through three years of rehabilitation and two years of fighting post traumatic stress disorder and depression, took the gold in the over 72kg category by bench pressing 130kg at the championships, held at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.

As a qualified personal trainer, he has always been into fitness and took up powerlifting after narrowly missing out on the British para-triathlon squad.

He admits that next year’s Paralympics in Brazil will be too soon for him – but he’s hoping to represent his country at the 2020 games in Tokyo.

“That’s what I’m aiming for as I’ve got a good five years to establish myself,” he said. “Even if you’re in the GB squad there’s no guarantee of making it as only the top eight in the world qualify.

“It is quite a tough process and there’s a lot of work to do, but I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.

“Eventually I would like to become a full-time athlete, but I’ll need to get a lot more sponsorship before then.”