Injured soldier to carry Paralympic flame though London
Matt looking forward to emotional and proud moment in London 2012 torch realy.
A SOLDIER who was left partially paralysed after surviving a brain tumour will be carrying the Paralympic flame though London on Wednesday.
Staff Sergeant Matt Raasch-Sotinwa, who had a traumatic life-changing operation three years ago, will bear the torch through Newham as part of a special 24-hour relay from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium.
Matt said his involvement in the relay would be ‘an emotional and proud moment’.
The 41-year-old, who is based at Chivenor with 24 Commando and has been in the Army for 20 years, said: “I am shocked; I knew I had been nominated which was great, but I never expected to be successful, I am over the moon. It’s even more exciting after seeing the excitement around the Olympic torch.”
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The flame will be used to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games later that day.
Matt was nominated for the honour by Martin Colclough, head of Battle Back Phoenix an MOD sport rehabilitation programme supported by Help for Heroes.
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The scheme, which began four years ago, allows wounded, injured and sick service personnel to have a go at sport and adventure training to regain fitness and confidence.
Matt, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008, had been invited to try water skiing after numerous operations had left him partially paralysed, deaf in his left ear and suffering with balance and coordination problems.
The keen sportsman, a retired sprinter who narrowly missed out on being selected to represent Team GM himself, has raised around �3,000 for Battle Pack.
“The support I’ve had has been amazing. Battle Back make you feel like nothing is impossible, no injury or disability gets in the way of doing sport and for a time you forget what you can’t do and get on with it.”