Wounded Warriors looking for a positive focus to use as part of their recovery should consider trying out for the next Invictus Games, at The Hague in The Netherlands in two years’ time.
A total of 491 injured or ill current and former service personnel from 18 nations participated at Invictus Games Sydney 2018, competing in a spirit of encouragement, understanding and athletic pursuit.
Here is some of the advice they offered to service men and women thinking about becoming involved in the Invictus Games family.
Canadian Cavell Simmonds, who is the oldest competitor at 67, said: “A member of the 2017 Invictus Games team suggested that I apply. I didn’t want to because I figured I was too old and couldn’t do anything and wouldn’t be selected. But it’s such a healing benefit. The preparation for coming, the team support, getting to know people, talking to like-minded people – countries and countries of like-minded people – it gives you inspiration to get out of the house, take care of yourself and be the special person that you can be because we are all unique and this is a fantastic way to see yourself.”
UK competitor Joe Dillnutt, said: “For anyone out there thinking about doing Invictus Games or thinking ‘No, it’s not really for me’, give it a go. There’s no harm in trying anything and, trust me, this works.”
Cycling, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis competitor Brian Williams of the USA, said winning a bronze medal in the tennis was his highlight.
“I didn’t have a whole lot of tennis experience,” he said. “Working with my partner and having the broadened horizons of what wheelchair tennis is and what I could possibly do with more training and effort, I look forward to continuing that effort.
“The biggest thing is coming out and trying. Putting forth the effort is the first step to making it to these Games. Once you do that, the world’s your oyster.
“If you make it to the Games, make everything of it, give it everything you’ve got.”
Mark Daniels, from host nation Australia, said: “For all the service personnel that are thinking about giving the Invictus Games a go, look, I wouldn’t be here without these Games. So, if you’re sitting there doubting yourself, just get involved because there’s nothing like having the whole of Australia behind you. Put your application in for 2020 and I’d love to see you as part of the team.”
Canadian Corey Nowell, a cyclist, indoor rower and wheelchair basketballer, said: “Something I’d like to wish is that, not just Team Canada but everyone here that was competing, has inspired someone out there to get off the couch, out of the basement, get out there and get that registration in for 2020 in The Netherlands.”
New Zealand’s Kelly Whittle, who competed at her third Invictus Games, said: “It’s one of those ‘I’m ready’ thing, rather than pushing yourself into any situation you might find awkward. When you’re ready to be part of the Invictus family, they’ll draw you in, no questions asked.
“For people who are still struggling but think they are ready, these Games will just lift you…. really lift you.”