VETERANS with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will compete in a first of its kind competition next month.

On October 14 former servicemen will take part in PentUp at Sandhurst Military Academy, the first time the condition has been treated through a multi-disciplinary sporting event.

The competition is the culmination of eight months training which has seen combat veterans channel their experiences in the Falklands, Bosnia and Iraq into sporting excellence.

Under the watchful eye of the British Army and Pentathlon GB, they will compete in fencing, swimming, show jumping, middle distance running and pistol shooting.

Amongst the competitors is Sean Hemans from London, who was the first Jamaican to to join the first battalion Coldstream Guards, based in Windsor.

He served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning a rosette on his Afghan campaign medal for using a bayonet in house and bomb factory clearance operations.

Reflecting on his time in Afghanistan, he said: "We were doing a dawn attack on an insurgent bomb factory based on intel from Camp Bastion. It was dark and we got air strikes and mortars in, then ran into the building and did the business.

"As soon as we received the order to fix bayonets our team knew that we had been selected to receive rosettes. We ran in and did what we had to do.

"It was the most exciting moment of my army career.

"I got blown up in Afghanistan and I got third degree burns on my face, my shoulders and my arm. I was in a burns unit."

He returned to London where he was diagnosed with PTSD and was discharged from the army.

From there things took a turn for the worse for Private Hemans, who used a knife to enter his home after being kicked out. Police arrived, searched the property and found an active grenade in his kit. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Now, out of prison and with the help of Combat Stress veteran's charity, Private Hemans is turning his life around through horse riding and fencing.

"I did my first double jump on a horse last Tuesday," he continued.

"I almost fell off the first time but it was amazing. I've never fallen off once and I have no plans to do it.

"It is helping me to get back on my feet but also socialising. It's given me a new lease of life."

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