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York soldier injured in Iraq prepares for gruelling trek to South Pole
Polar pioneer Conrad Dickinson (left) and Ibrar Ali busy with final preparations for Walking with the Wounded trip to Antarctic. Working out on Speedflex
A FORMER soldier who suffered devastating injuries while on patrol in Iraq today (Tuesday, November 5) spoke of his next big challenge – a gruelling walk of over 200 miles to the South Pole.
Ibrar Ali of York, North Yorkshire, who left the Army as a Captain in August and describes himself as “technically a pensioner”, will be taking part in the Walking with the Wounded charity race across the Antarctic with Prince Harry on the November 16.
He suffered multiple injuries when a roadside bomb detonated while he was driving in convoy in Iraq in 2007, losing his right arm as well as suffering other injuries.
Mr Ali, who served with the Yorkshire Regiment, spoke today during a training visit to Speedflex Europe, in Jesmond, Newcastle, who are sponsoring him.
He said the challenge was particularly poignant for him, as during the selection process for the trek, two members of his unit were killed in service in Afghanistan.
Mr Ali, who has a five-year-old daughter Zara , spoke of how he came about his injuries.
He said: “I was in a convoy returning from Basra and three roadside bombs all detonated at the same time.
“My vehicle was struck, which killed the driver and we were all badly injured.
“I want to be able to come home and say to my young daughter that I did everything I could out at the South Pole - and hopefully be in the winning team.
“I am doing this challenge for those that have lost their lives, those who have been badly injured and of course everyone serving right now.”
Mr Ali was joined on his visit to the North-East by the team’s UK guide Conrad Dickinson and fellow team member Major Kate Philp, of Wiltshire, whose left leg is amputated below the knee.
An ex-army captain, Mr Dickinson 58, of Hexham, Northumberland, has previously completed a record-breaking trip to the South Pole with his wife Hilary.
He said: “This is the biggest expedition of this type this century, it's simply a huge challenge.
"We are dealing with vast crevasses, moving ice shelves, glaciers, snow storms and arctic temperatures, but nothing will compare with what the team have already faced. I am immensely proud to be working with these guys, please support them."
Their training process began in March this year with cold weather training in Iceland.
The team will hope to raise £2 million pounds for injured servicemen as they aim to beat teams from the US and Commonwealth countries to the South Pole. They will face temperatures of minus 45 degrees in 50mph winds as they pull sledges in excess of 70kg.
Speedflex Europe have incorporated a plan to help build Mr Ali’s endurance, strength, aerobic capacity and overall power. Speedflex is hailed as unique, as it allows training to an individual's maximum capacity with low risk of injury, with a heart monitor is worn throughout to gauge progress.
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