Army hero Beighton eyes rowing gold

A former Army captain is set to vie for rowing gold - less than three years after losing his legs in a devastating Taliban bomb blast.

Nick Beighton was on a reconnaissance foot patrol in Helmand in October 2009 when he trod on an improvised explosive device. It was touch and go whether he would even survive as medics frantically battled to save his life.

But the 30-year-old, who needed 36 pints in blood transfusions, will mark his incredible recovery on Sunday by competing in the mixed adaptive rowing sculls final with Samantha Scowen.

Beighton, from Shrewsbury, admitted his life was in "real danger" in the minutes following the explosion.

He said: "Luckily an Army medic was not far away and he managed to provide a high level of care, stopping the blood flow and protecting me from going into severe shock. I was fully conscious for about 45 minutes. It was terrifying but the medic kept me talking. I was aware things were not looking good but I did not think about dying. Maybe that's me being pigheaded!"

Beighton mastered his new prosthetic legs in a fortnight to join his comrades on parade less than five months after being injured.

It was during his rehabilitation programme that he was introduced to rowing and encouraged to attend an event to identify potential Paralympic talent.

Beighton joined the British rowing team full-time in May last year and quickly achieved success with rowing partner Scowen. The pair finished sixth in the World Championship, after just three months rowing together, to qualify for the London Paralympics.

They have continued their good form at London 2012, finishing second in their heat at Eton Dorney on Saturday to secure their place in the Paralympic final.

After the heat, Beighton said: "Chance plays a part in all our lives and you just go with it. It's bad luck when you step on an IED (improvised explosive device), good luck when you reach a Paralympic final."