BBC journalist who was injured in Iraq to run in Olympic torch relay
July 24, 2012 1 Comment
A journalist who lost part of his leg after stepping on a landmine in Iraq will be running the Olympic torch relay in London today.
Stuart Hughes, World Affairs Producer for the BBC, will be wearing a carbon fibre blade prosthesis as he carries the flame through the borough of Hillingdon.
Hughes was injured after stepping on an anti-personnel landmine in Iraq in 2003. His colleague, cameraman Kaveh Golestan, was killed instantly.
His right leg was amputated below the knee and he was fitted with a prosthetic leg.
In an article for the BBC, Hughes said:
“When I lost my leg below the knee in Iraq, I couldn’t imagine ever being able to walk again properly, let alone run.
“But once I began my rehabilitation, I realised how much prosthetics have advanced since World War II, when soldiers returning from the battlefield were fitted with crude, heavy artificial limbs.”
During the countdown to the Games, Hughes had worked alongside British prosthetics company Blatchford to design the high-tech prototype leg for the torch relay.
“The process has made me appreciate what an amazing machine the human body is,” Hughes said.
BBC correspondent Allan Little, who met Hughes when he was a young producer, said in a BBC video:
“He [Stuart] almost got killed. The colleague he was working with at the time did get killed. And Stuart took it upon himself to turn this into something positive.
“There’s something symbolically appropriate about somebody like Stuart, whose working life is devoted to going to difficult places and trying to shine a light in the darkness – there’s something appropriate about carrying a torch on an occasion of great national celebration.”
Hughes is a campaigner for landmine awareness.
“I’m never going to be an Olympian or a Paralympian, so representing potentially both the BBC and people with disabilities is something I thought was really exciting.”
“If I can make people think a little bit more deeply, a little bit more personally about the landmine issue, I think that’s something I feel very strongly that I have to do.”
He will carry the flame through the London Borough of Hillingdon from 1.49pm today.
Watch London 2012 Torchbearer – Stuart Hughes: