Invictus Games Co-Captains named for Team Australia
It is an exciting year for Defence and veteran sport, with the Invictus Games to be held from 9 to 16 September in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Earlier this year, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, Matt Keogh announced the incredible 31 competitors who form Team Australia and will compete in the Games, coming up against more than 500 participants from 21 nations.
The Invictus Games is an international, adaptive multi-sport competition for former and current serving military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service. Team Australia competitors will take part in a range of adaptive sports including athletics, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, table tennis, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
Assistant Minister for Defence and Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Matt Thistlethwaite announced Flight Sergeant Nathan King and Able Seaman Taryn Dickens as the co-captains of Team Australia at the team’s fourth training camp.
The pair will lead the 31-strong team comprised of serving and former serving military personnel. More than 90 of the team’s family and friends will also join them at the Games.
Aircraft technician Flight Sergeant King is participating in his second games in order to refocus his training and continue his recovery from a sports accident that left him in intensive care for six weeks and with limited use of his left leg.
Flight Sergeant King said the role of co-captain was an honour as he wanted to use his second Invictus experience to assist in mentoring new competitors. ‘To come back, my focus was on being a mentor for the team from what I’d learned from the first games. But to have that platform of co-captain, it’s a great honour’, he said.
Able Seaman Dickens, a Weapons Rate Electronics Technician who is now assigned to HMAS Harmen, expressed her enthusiasm and astonishment at being named team leader. ‘I am both shocked and extremely honoured to be named as a co-captain’, she said. ‘The reaction I got from the team surprised me again, but it’s really humbling to hear the support in the room when something like that happens. That is the first time I’ve been announced as a captain of anything, so it’s pretty cool.’
Amidst the announcement of co-captains, the Assistant Minister, Chef de Mission Brigadier Phil Winter, and Invictus Australia Chairman James Brown also presented official team shirts, and enjoyed some celebratory cake.
There was also a flurry of training activities and preparation for competitors at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation. Competitors spent time honing their skills in their elected sports, bonding as a team and discussing strategies with their coaches. This included an exhibition game of wheelchair basketball for the Assistant Minister and other guests.
Participating in veteran sport and physical activity is an important contributor to health and wellbeing, particularly during recovery and rehabilitation from injury or illness. Sport brings people together, instils mental resilience, provides opportunities to connect with broader communities and helps to create new friendships.
The Invictus Games demonstrate the power of sport to positively influence the recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration of former and current serving Defence veterans who have been wounded, injured, or become ill during their service. This philosophy underpins Invictus Australia’s work to impact a broader audience of veterans and families.
Team Australia is delivered in partnership between Invictus Australia and the ADF, with DVA providing funding to underpin Invictus Australia’s support of the team, as well as expansion into local communities. We can’t wait to get behind all of the competitors, coaches and volunteers who will represent Australia at the next Invictus Games in Düsseldorf!
Visit our website, www.invictusaustralia.org, to find out ways that you can get involved or support our veteran community.
Assistant Minister for Defence, the Assistant Minister for Veterans Affairs, the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP (rear left) meets the wheelchair basketball team for Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023.
About Invictus Australia: Invictus Australia is the NFP responsible for organising the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. We carry on the legacy of the Games every day in local communities, as all veterans and their families can benefit from involvement with sporting communities, particularly ‘at risk’ veterans. As well as promoting the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport, Invictus Australia shines a light on the unique needs of younger veterans and the challenges they face as they transition from military to civilian life. Find out more at www.invictusaustralia.org
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