A FORMER Royal Marine from Wirral has his sights on Paralympic glory after being reselected to race for the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team.

Pete Dunning, 26, from Wallasey, was injured while on duty in Afghanistan and has been a key member of the team since 2009/10. He is also a member of the Great Britain Disabled Ski Team.

His selection for the 2011/12 squad means he will shortly begin another gruelling winter of training and racing.

He hopes to qualify for a place in the next Winter Paralympics, taking place in Russia in 2014.

Pete said: "My goal this season is to get to world cup level skiing in the technical events of Slalom and Giant Slalom as well as in the Super-G and Downhill.

"From then on it's looking ahead to Russia 2014 so that's my big dream now, to get there.

"The 2010/11 season saw members of the team collect three Gold, four Silver and four Bronze medals in international events so the 2014 games are a very real possibility."

Pete was serving in Afghanistan in 2008 when he was involved in a strike by an Improvised Explosive Device that killed one of his fellow soldiers.

Pete lost both legs and suffered additional serious injuries in the explosion.

It was during his recovery at military rehabilitation centre Headley Court in Surrey that his plan to take up ski-ing was born.

He said: "The opportunity came up to do two weeks skiing in Bavaria.

"When I was a little lad I used to love Ski Sunday, so I was curious about it.

"I'd never put a pair of skis on before but I just fell in love with it from the first time I fell face first in the snow.

"While I was there I met some of the CSDST guys and I joined the team for the 2009- 2010 season."

Pete, who attended Wirral Metropolitan College before joining the Marines, left the services last December and said skiing has completely changed his life.

"When I got injured I honestly thought an officer would come along and say 'thanks for your services now off you go'. But it was totally different.

"The help I've received has been tremendous, in hospital and going to Headley Court.

"But being on the ski team has definitely helped me physically and mentally.

"The focus on what I wanted to do when I was in the marines was obviously totally shattered so I had to get a new focus.

"When I'm not skiing I go round local schools in my home town giving motivational talks.

"Showing the kids bad things can happen to you but good can come from bad. Normally I get a really good reaction from them."

And in addition to his success on the slopes, Pete has other reasons to feel positive: "At the start of this season in about two weeks my fiancée and I are due our first baby and at the end of the season we’re getting married as well. We both can’t wait.

“The one thing I like to get across is that when I was in hospital flat on my back, I thought it was the end of the world.

“Going from a fit young Marine to lying still was the hardest thing I ever had to do. But I want to show that it’s not the end of the world.

“To be honest, my life now is better now than it used to be. I’m a full time sportsman, skiing for Great Britain, looking at the Olympics; but I’m also getting married and having a kid.

“We weren’t together when I got injured, our relationship started afterwards, so one thing I would say to the lads who come back injured thinking it’s the end of the world is: It’s not, there’s plenty out there to do, so chin up and crack on with it.”