A SOLDIER, told he would never walk again after losing both legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, has set himself the goal of becoming a Paralympic runner.

Just two years after sustaining his injuries, Kingsman Anthony Cooper has defied medics and intends to become a long distance runner.

Anthony, 25, has also been named David Lloyd Leisure’s PT Hero of the Year 2012.

In 2010, while serving with the 1st Battalion of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Anthony lost both legs below the knee, his right eye, fingers on his left hand and fingertips on the right, as well as suffering a severe brain injury.

He was flown home to spend several months in hospital and continues to undergo specialist rehabilitation.

Anthony, from Chorley, said: “Doctors told my family I would never do anything due to the extent of my injuries, I have spent the last 18 months proving them wrong.”

He added: “I joined the gym to improve diet and fitness and to build my strength in my legs so I could walk again.

“I met my trainer Rob Darlington there, and with his guidance I have built up my strength and stamina. Now he helps me train using my prosthetic legs to help build muscle.

“I had one childhood wish, to be a soldier. Now with Rob’s help, my dream is to represent my country in the next Paralympics. I knew I would walk again, but I don’t think anyone else did.”

Anthony lives next to his parents and works out five times a week.

He said: “I asked Rob to ‘beast’ me as that is what I miss about the army. I cannot accept pity and Rob shows no mercy which, in my eyes, makes him perfect for me in my recovery.”

Rob nominated Anthony for the award, and said: “With his courage, fight, sense of humour and will to work, I am sure he will achieve his dream.”