SOUTHAMPTON’S David Henson admitted he could not wipe the smile off his face after playing a captain’s role by storming to athletics gold at the inaugural Invictus Games in London.

The 29-year-old has been a prominent figure in the lead up to the Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, and championed by Prince Harry, having been chosen as skipper of the British Armed Forces team.

But he showed that all the attention had not distracted him from his key preparations as he sprinted to gold in the 200m men ambulant IT2 final in 28.00 seconds at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre.

It was almost nine seconds clear of his nearest challenger Philippe Robert of France but the former St George Catholic VA College pupil was quick to point out the efforts of all the competitors.

“You can see the smile on my face and that’s not just because I won a medal – when I came in in the morning, all the athletes looked really nervous but after hearing thousands of people cheering their name they came back with smiles on their faces,” said former Army captain Henson, who left the Royal Engineers in March.

“It doesn’t matter if they won or lost – the aim of the Games has been achieved. We’re just enjoying it but we’ve pushed sport from a recovery point of view and we’ve highlighted its importance to injured service men and women and we’ve brought that awareness to the public.”

The Invictus Games are an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel, with more than 400 competitors from 13 countries taking part in nine sports across four days in London.

And Henson, who lost both his legs when he accidentally stood on an IED in Helmand Province in February 2011, isn’t done yet he goes in search of a second gold in Sunday’s sitting volleyball competition.

But with the spotlight well and truly on the Games and using the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country, Henson believes it is only just the start.

“I think Prince Harry is delighted that it has turned out the way he wanted it to and so are we,” he added. “Imagine the impact this could have if we had it abroad in the future.

“It would really help to raise awareness in the countries which perhaps aren’t quite as good with their service personnel.

“If we could have it in Australia or Germany or Denmark with Prince Harry driving it forward then there would be an instant raising of awareness in those countries.”

– Jaguar Land Rover is proud to be the presenting partner of the Invictus Games, the international sporting competition for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel. For more information and