Veteran Owen Pick of Barton Mills wins sporting excellence award for snowboarding despite amputation

Owen Pick at the 2017 Soldiering On Awards. Picture: RUPERT FRERE

Owen Pick at the 2017 Soldiering On Awards. Picture: RUPERT FRERE - Credit: Rupert Frere

A veteran of the Royal Anglian regiment who was so badly injured in Afghanistan he had his leg amputated has received an award for sporting excellence.

Owen Pick snowboarding. Picture: OWEN PICK

Owen Pick snowboarding. Picture: OWEN PICK - Credit: Archant

Owen Pick, 25, from Barton Mills, lost his leg after stepping on an improvised explosive device, known as an IED.

Since losing his leg, Owen has gone on to become a competitive snowboard athlete – fast becoming one of the best in the world – and is now targeting the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea.

He was presented with the sporting excellence award for an individual during the 2017 Soldiering On awards, held on March 24.

'It's great because the more I can get my name out there, the more people will realise you can do all this with one leg,' he said.

He said he was 'blown up' when he was 18 but his leg was originally saved. However, it was so severely injured that 18 months later he chose to have it 'chopped off'.

A couple of years later, around 2003, he began snowboarding and since then has gone from strength to strength.

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'It definitely didn't come quickly,' he said. 'It took a lot of hard work when I started. There weren't coaches out there who knew how to coach people with one leg. I had multiple coaches and it was trial and error, let's see if this works. I loved it and wanted to make it work.'

The Soldiering On awards were held in the presence of the charity's patron the Right Honourable Earl Howe.

He said: 'The Soldiering On Awards recognise the amazing contribution that former members of the armed forces continue to make to society and also those individuals, charities, groups and animals in the wider community who support their journey. We believe that we are all part of one community and are stronger together supporting each other.'

Military charity Blesma, which supports veterans who have lost limbs, nominated Owen for the award after encouraging him to consider snowboarding in the first place.

Owen said he did not realise what a 'big deal' the awards were until he arrived at the event itself in London.

'It was really good to be nominated and to win it was brilliant and really special,' he said.

Owen studied at Mildenhall College of Technology, now the Mildenhall College Academy.

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