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Double-amputee in extreme challenge

Duncan Slater lost both legs in a blast in Afghanistan in 2009.Duncan Slater lost both legs in a blast in Afghanistan in 2009.

A wounded soldier who is aiming to be the first double-amputee to walk to the South Pole has said he hopes other injured servicemen will follow in his footsteps.

Duncan Slater, who lost both his legs in a blast in Afghanistan in July 2009, has spent the last week training in sub-zero temperatures in Iceland.

The 34-year-old from Muir of Ord in Scotland is one of six injured servicemen and women hoping to be selected for a four-person British team to compete against teams from America and the Commonwealth in the Walking With the Wounded charity race to the South Pole in November.

Sgt Slater was told by doctors he would never walk again after his vehicle was blown up by a Taliban roadside bomb when he was serving with the RAF Regiment.

But the 34-year-old has now learned to ski and is aiming to become a record breaker by being the first double-amputee to walk to the South Pole.

“I volunteered to do this to show what amputees can do,” he said after spending five days and nights on Langjokull glacier in Iceland.

“It would be great to see more and more amputees reach the pole.

“Hopefully I won’t be the last, and if I get there and find out an easier way of doing it, then other people can follow in my footsteps and do it as well.”

The teams have camped out on the glacial ice, melted snow for water each morning and night and eaten freeze-dried rations.

Sgt Slater said the conditions have been a strain, but he has learned to adapt.

“It’s had its challenges to be honest,” he said.

The 34-year-old is aiming to become a record breaker by being the first double-amputee to walk to the South Pole

“It’s not easy learning to ski and then go out for four days covering quite a lot of mileage. But it’s been a great learning curve.”

Asked if he has a particular technique, he added: “It is a little bit ad hoc, but you’ve got to find your way of doing it and find a rhythm, but once you do that, it’s amazing how much distance you can cover in a day.

“You’ve got to be quite hot on your personal administration. You’ve got to really look after your stumps. The last thing you want to do is get any rubs, and blisters, or indeed in these temperatures, any frostbite or injuries like that on them.”

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