Royal Marine ready for Irish service in Rio

Tyrone man and Royal Marine Phillip Eaglesham will compete for Ireland in shooting at the Paralympics on Tuesday six years after contracting an illness while on duty in Afghanistan which eventually left him wheelchair bound.

Father of three Phillip was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when he contracted Q Fever, which is caused by a rare airborne bacteria.

"My condition deteriorates over time and because there is not very much known about it, the prognosis really isn't there," says the 34-year-old Dungannon native.

Two years ago, Somerset-based Phillip thought seriously about taking his own life and he says his involvement in shooting has played a huge role in boosting his morale.

"For me a couple of years ago, it was probably the darkest time of my life. So to turn that round in two years and show the kids that no matter what happens, you can always go on to bigger and better things is something pretty special."

After first competing in disabled shooting competitions in 2012, Phillip secured qualification for the Paralympics with a high placing at the World Cup event in Thailand in March.

"It has been a whirlwind experience from getting selected. If we can inspire one or two people to do something great in their lives, that that's what it is all about," adds Phillip, whose condition means that he is restricted to four one-hour practice sessions a week.

Phillip will be involved in qualifying for the R5 Mixed 10m Rifle Prone competition from 17:00 BST and will hope to secure a top-eight spot which would earn him a place in the final at 19:15

Top videos

Top Stories