Morgan Helps Veterans Challenge for Paralympian Dream
When Steve Arnold and Scott Meenagh joined the Armed Forces, it is probably fair to say that they would not have thought that they’d be competing in the 2018 Winter Paralympics being hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Both Steve and Scott are double amputees, caused by injuries in the line of duty. They are being supported in their pursuit for Paralympic selection by a partnership between Help for Heroes and the Armed Force Para-Snowsport Team. If successful for selection, Steve and Scott will be the first Para-Nordic skiers to represent GB at the Paralympics for 20 years.
Scott was part of the recovery operation in Afghanistan when he stepped on a roadside IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Steve Arnold was serving as a Staff Sergeant that was leading a search team in Afghanistan when he also lost both of his legs in an IED explosion.
Even though both members have suffered life-changing injuries, they now find themselves on the verge of qualification for the Paralympic Para Nordic Skiing event, thanks to some help from the Composites and Defence Systems business of Morgan Advanced Materials.
Morgan was approached by Elizabeth Winfield, Chief Operating Officer for Armed Forces Para-Snow Sport, and Jayne Kavanagh, Performance Pathway Manager at Help for Heroes, in September 2017 to design and manufacture bespoke sit skis for Scott and Steve. Morgan’s relationship with the Armed Forces follows on from its recent win of the £4.49m contract to supply body armour to the Ministry of Defence.
Qualification for the games started in December 2017. This gave the manufacturer just six weeks to produce the sit skis in time for training and qualification.
“We were incredibly honoured to have been able to help Scott and Steve on their extraordinary Paralympic journey”, said Greg Aratoon, Principal Engineer at Morgan Composites and Defence Systems.
“Before we got involved, they were using off the shelf ice hockey seats that were ill-fitting and heavy. We knew that we’d be able to help create bespoke, lightweight sit skis which would give them the best chance of reaching Pyeongchang”.
Nordic Para Skiing tests athletes on varying inclines, while they also must roll the sit skis over to shoot at targets and then sprint to the finish.
To design the new seats, Morgan started by 3D scanning the team members. This helped get Scott and Steve’s unique measurements for the seat moulds and tailor the designs where waist strapping would be situated.
The sit skis were then manufactured out of mainly carbon fibre. The seats weighed less than 1kg each when finished, not including the metallic frames.
“Not only does the seat look good and make us look professional on the racing circuit, but it is also very robust and has held up to me putting it through its paces”, said Steve Arnold.
“I feel very secure in the seat and all the strapping was designed to keep me in when in the prone shooting position, making it feel like part of my body while skiing. I believe the seat has helped me with the marginal gains you need when competing in high level sport".
Special thanks go out to companies involved in the project, including Morgan Advanced Materials Base Group, Pattern & Moulds, SHD Composites and ADV Metal Craft.
For more about Morgan’s Composites and Defence Systems Business, click here.