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Former England rugby star Ben Cohen has been drafted in to join the dwindling number of competitors on The Jump.

The former Strictly Come Dancing contestant, 37, has already flown out to Austria to take his place in the winter sports competition and will compete for the first time on Sunday’s show.

Channel 4 said that Ben “has been assessed and cleared by the programme’s expert training team to be part of the series. A personalised training plan is in place to get him ready to compete in this Sunday’s show.”

Ben’s first challenge will be the formidable parallel slalom, with the slowest down the slope facing the dreaded air jump.

With Strictly under his belt, Ben is no stranger to the rigours of reality TV shows, but his pregnant girlfriend Kristina Rihanoff may not be too thrilled if he ends up temporarily bed-bound from the injury-hit competition.

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff

Ben met girlfriend Kristina Rihanoff during his time on Strictly (Rui Vieira/PA)

 

His appointment follows the return of James “Arg” Argent to the show, despite previously becoming the second contestant eliminated.

The Only Way Is Essex star has been confirmed as the replacement for Olympic gold-winning medallist Linford Christie, who was the fifth celebrity to pull out due to injury.

Arg posted a photo of former EastEnders actor Joe Swash on Instagram calling him the “new recruit” to the show, but Channel 4 said he is still being assessed for his suitability for the tough show.

So far, Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle has required neck surgery to fuse two fractured vertebrae. Her timescale for recovery is uncertain.

The 30-year-old, who won bronze at the London Games in 2012, fell on the slopes during rehearsals for the show and needed neck surgery which involved having a piece of bone taken from her hip.

Olympian Rebecca Adlington, 26, withdrew from the show on medical advice after a shoulder injury and confirmed she will also be having surgery.

 

She told host Davina McCall the pain of the fall was ”literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me, it was worse than childbirth”.

Holby City actress Tina Hobley, 44, also headed for the exit after she dislocated her elbow and suffered two fractures to her arm.

On Tuesday it was confirmed that Made In Chelsea star Mark-Francis Vandelli, 26, had also pulled out after fracturing his ankle.

Former EastEnders star Sid Owen, 44, was unable to perform the show’s air jump live due to injury.

Joe Swash is being assessed as a replacement contestant on The Jump

 

The Mirror reports that Joe Swash, also ex-EastEnders, and Miss Great Britain Zara Holland, have also been flown to the Austrian slopes for “assessment”, and may replace Beth and Mark.

The number of injuries on the third series of The Jump has prompted Channel 4 to confirm that it will review safety procedures on the show.

Miss Great Britain Zara Holland could compete on The Jump

 

The broadcaster said this year’s events have been designed to be “no more difficult than in previous years” and said all celebrities have undertaken a rigorous training programme to prepare them for the show.

A statement added: “All winter sports carry some element of risk, but in light of the number of injuries this year, Channel 4 has asked the producers to review safety procedures again to further reduce the prospect of accident.”

The Jump continues on Channel, Sunday, February 14, 7.30pm