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Joseph 'Joe' Townsend (born 27 March 1988) is a British paratriathlete who competed in the 2016 Summer Paralympics. He lost both legs whilst serving in Afghanistan, after stepping on an IED in 2008.

Joe Townsend
Personal information
NationalityBritish
Born (1988-03-27) 27 March 1988 (age 31)[1]
Eastbourne, England
Sport
CountryEngland
SportTriathlon

Early lifeEdit

Townsend was born and brought up in Eastbourne.[1]

Military serviceEdit

Townsend served in the 40 Commando whilst in the Helmand province of Afghanistan during Operation Herrick VII. On the 8th February 2008, he stepped on a Taliban improvised explosive device in a field in the Upper Gereshk Valley whilst leading his patrol (from Delta Company) back to FOB Gibraltar. The base, built in 2007, was nicknamed 'the mouth of hell' by Taliban fighters and Townsend was one of 14 to be seriously injured there.[3] He was then taken to Camp Bastion (where he underwent 14 hours of live-saving surgery), before being flown to the Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where, what remained of his right leg was treated and left leg was amputated as it could not be saved.[4] Townsend spent a total of five and half months including 6 weeks in intensive care at the hospital.

RehabilitationEdit

In July 2008, Townsend left the hospital to go to the Headley Court a Defense Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey. He spent a total of 3 years at the centre, learning how to use his new prosthetic legs, whilst also undertaking further surgery at the hospital, receiving over 50 operations to date. At the rehabilitation centre, he was encouraged to compete in the Ironman Triathlon - 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26 miles of running. The triathlon had never been completed by a disabled athlete at the time.[5]

Sporting careerEdit

At the Invictus Games in 2014 he won four gold medals on the athletics track while also taking part in cycling and powerlifting events.

At the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, he made his Paralympic debut in triathlon, finishing sixth in the men's PT1 event. [6]

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Townsend won the gold medal in triathlon.

In 2019, he finished in first place in the Tokyo ITU Paratriathlon World Cup.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Joe Townsend". British Triathlon Federation. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Commonwealth Games:Joe Townsend & Jade Jones win Para-triathlon golds". BBC Sport. 7 April 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  3. ^ Townsend, Mark (26 October 2008). "Survivors of the 'mouth of hell' back with tales of a deadly tour of duty". The Observer. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  4. ^ Marsden, Sam (30 August 2012). "Paralympics 2012: Mother's shock as Royal Marine son flies into Olympic Stadium on zipwire". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  5. ^ Marsden, Sam (30 August 2012). "Paralympics 2012: Mother's shock as Royal Marine son flies into Olympic Stadium on zipwire". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Joe Townsend". British Paralympic Association. Retrieved 19 October 2019.