Beyond the Games | Australia takes inspiration from our Invictus heroes
While there have been personal bests aplenty and lives positively changed amongst the competitors of Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023, the ability of the competitors to influence their proud nations may be their greatest impact.
The Australian community has been right behind the team of 31 serving and former serving competitors attending the Games in Dusseldorf.
From the bases of ADFA (Canberra) to Amberley (Qld), Edinburgh (SA) to Enoggera (Qld); to schools, sporting clubs, corporate Australia and the community, people of all ages and backgrounds have been getting involved in sporting activities in a show of support for Team Australia, but also for the benefit of themselves.
There’s been a sitting volleyball come and try day in Williamtown in NSW, a dragon boating exhibition with the North Queensland Phoenix Dragons in Townsville and an Archery Open Day at Townsville Target Archers and The Oasis Townsville.
At the RAAF Base Amberley more than 150 members from the 6th Engineer Support Regiment got behind an #IG2023 event with beach volleyball, touch football, a barbeque lunch and the winning team presented with an Invictus Australia shield.
350 school children in Medowie (NSW) learnt about the power of the human spirit and incredible impact The Invictus Games has on defence service personnel, both active and retired. A further 300 people pounded the pavement in Joondallup (WA) in a special Parkrun event honouring the Invictus Games competitors.
The Invictus Games shine a spotlight on the need for military personnel, both veterans and those in active service, to embrace sport as a vehicle for recovery from both physical and invisible injuries.
And when the Games are over, Invictus Australia (IA) works with the veteran community 365 days of the year, supporting veterans and their families to connect to sporting organisations to either start or resume their sporting journeys.
Invictus Australia CEO Michael Hartung said the groundswell of support has motivated a number of veterans and their families to take their first step, or resume, their sporting journey.
“What a Games! To witness the moments of resilience and mateship from the Aussies, not only within Team Australia, but with competitors from all Nations, was simply inspiring,” Hartung said.
“To be surrounded by stories of how the Games has impacted the 80-odd family and friends contingent, who served and have sacrificed alongside our service personnel was heartwarming.
“What has also been incredibly rewarding is how these Games have inspired our work back home – we’ve had close to 1,000 local veterans and family members getting active and connected, in parallel to the wonderful international event unfolding this week.
“What has also been incredibly rewarding is how these Games have inspired our work back home – we’ve had close to 1,500 local veterans and family members getting active and connected, in parallel to the wonderful international event unfolding this week.”
“From archery and Dragon Boating in Townsville, to football in Medowie, sitting volleyball in NSW, wheelchair rugby and indoor rowing in South Australia and so much more – this is the legacy Invictus has in Australia, and what we will continue with until the next Games in Vancouver Whistler, and beyond.
“As we reflect on the success of these Invictus Games, we continue looking to the future as we build the mental fitness for all Aussie veterans and families through the power of sport, across the nation,” he said.
Sport heals wounds, both physical and invisible, it provides people with motivation and a purpose, and it connects us to a network of likeminded people.
IA’s Regional Veteran Engagement Managers work with community sport providers to initiate sporting opportunities for veterans and their families. If you’ve been inspired by the Invictus Games and want to start or return to sport after a period of absence, this is your time.
Reach out to our team and we will work with you to find a sporting opportunity that best meets your needs.