Television presenter and military veteran JJ Chalmers can today be revealed as the host of Aberdeen’s Sports Awards.
The annual ceremony takes place on October 3, with finalists battling it out for awards like Team Performance of the Year and Sports Achiever of the Year.
JJ, 32, has agreed to be master of ceremonies at P&J Live for the awards, with his story perfectly reflecting the life-changing power of sport.
He has moved from 2014 Invictus Games gold medallist to presenting duties, for the BBC at the 2016 Invictus and 2018 Commonwealth Games, and for Channel 4 at the 2016 Paralympics.
Former Royal Marine JJ suffered devastating injuries from a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2011.
He said: “I joined the Marines when I left school, which was my career and my life up until 2011 when I was injured in Afghanistan.
“A bomb blast went off, not underneath my feet but underneath the bloke I was talking to at the time.
“It tore my body to pieces head to toe and at that point ended my career. But it would take five years of recovery to come out the other side of it.
“I was technically still in the Marines until 2016, but I knew I was on the way out and it was about trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life which was going to get me out of bed in the morning.
“The first big step in my recovery was to go to the Invictus Games in 2014.”
The improvised explosive device (IED) left JJ with facial injuries and a destroyed right elbow. He also lost two fingers on his left hand.
He needed close to 30 operations during his recovery.
Sport gave JJ back his purpose.
Through his participation in triathlon he met Prince Harry, which got him involved in the Invictus Games and helped him discover his new passion for media work.
JJ – who at the time of the Invictus Games had taken steps towards entering the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen – said: “Meeting Prince Harry meant I got to help with the promotion of the Games and, for lack of a better phrase, become a poster boy for them.
“That made me fall in love with the media side.
“It got to the point I was being interviewed by (triple jump legend) Jonathan Edwards, one of my heroes growing up, and I thought ‘that’s what I want to do’.
“I wasn’t going to be a full-time sports person, but it let me stay in that world.
“It led me back to Invictus, to the Paralympics and the Commonwealth Games.”
JJ said it is “a real privilege” to be part of Aberdeen’s Sports Awards 2019.
He has felt the benefit of sport and thinks “if you can adapt within sport, then you’re able to drive yourself forward through the most negative of circumstances”.
JJ is looking forward to recognising Granite City sportspeople from the elite to grassroots level, and added: “It’s right we should celebrate these things which give people a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
“Athletes win gold medals at the end of the day, but there are coaches and people in the community behind the scenes.
“It’s the opportunity to meet good sports people and the people behind it.
“These awards bring out everybody, not just those who are front and centre on the telly, but everybody.”