Pedalling with power, Aussies make an impact at the cycling
The penultimate day of Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 and the final day of competition for Team Australia, saw the cycling, archery and sitting volleyball teams in action.
A one-day cycling spectacular got underway with the time trial where competitors raced against the clock over a distance of about two kilometres. Later in the day, the criterium saw competitors race for 30 minutes.
Finishing her Invictus Games experience on a high, Team Australia co-captain Able Seaman Taryn Dickens claimed gold in In the Women’s IRB3(M) Criterium.
After he recorded PBs across the Men’s IHB1 Criterium and Time Trial, Lenny Redrose notched up two silver medals.
But it was the joyous celebration from Colleen Swifte that had the crowd applauding in respect and admiration. For Colleen, who has knee issues, cycling has proven to be one of her great loves.
Team Australia competitor Colleen Swifte
“Cycling is a sport that allows me that cardio fitness,” she said.
For the two-time Invictus Games competitor, it was a relief to finally be able to jump on the bike after a long, tiring lead-up.
“It’s been a really big week,” said Colleen, who formerly served in the Army before being medically discharged in 2006.
“It’s been about trying to balance the commitment to other sports but knowing you’ve got something else you need to do – particularly for me with cycling being my primary sport.”
Competing in three sports at the Games, including sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball, meant Colleen had to make some hard decisions.
“I should have been playing sitting volleyball today, but it clashed with cycling,” she said.
“We had a big game against the Netherlands last night that we won, which was just amazing. So coming home at 9pm, hyped up from that and knowing I had to get to bed, get a good rest and get up really early to be here and prepare; it’s not easy. The pro cyclists, they’re just cycling. But here you’re doing different sports. It’s a big effort to balance things out.”
Prioritising cycling paid off for Colleen, placing third in the women’s IRB3 (M) time trial final in
2m 41.590s, just seven seconds behind Australian teammate, Able Seaman Taryn Dickens’
2m 34.468s gold-medal winning performance.
Brisbane girl, Colleen, backed the ride up in the afternoon in the women’s IRB3 (M) criterium race where she blew away the competition with a 22m 41.00s ride to take out first place and the gold.
It was an emotional win for Colleen, who suffers from a knee injury and post traumatic stress and was inspired to take on cycling after Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
I thought the Games were just about people who had physical injuries but I saw other people and they were cycling. That’s when I decided to join a local club so my journey has always been alongside other veterans. That helped me get into the cycling community where I’ve made a lot of friends.”
“It became quite a passion and that’s the idea of recovery through sport. It’s not just the physical aspect of it, but also connecting to community as well.”
Supported by family and friends and cheered home by the crowd, Colleen was able to finish her two Invictus Games experiences with a gold in the Women’s IRB3(M) Criterium Race and a bronze in the Time Trial.
Changing gears to sitting volleyball where competition was fierce for the second day straight as finals got underway. Whilst the competitors were on the floor, the crowd was on its feet for the Australia versus Georgia match.
With stellar teamwork on display and rallies seemingly endless, Australia eventually exited the competition after a nail-biting two-set match. (0-2) (18-21/9-21).
Team Australia sitting volleyball team
At the archery, a seven-strong Australian team were on target at the range, competing against nations across the individual and team categories of Novice Recurve, Open Recurve and Open Compound.
Team Australia’s archery captain, Ryan Kelly, joined Craig Ball, Mark Armstrong and Laura Reynell competing in the novice recurve category; Karney Armstrong competed in the Open Female Recurve, while Stephen Lockwood took on Open Male Recurve. Steven Richards lined up for Open Male Compound while Kelly, Armstrong and Ball made up the Novice team.
Team Australia competitor Ryan Kelly competes at the archery
In the final sport of the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023, the Aussies did themselves, their families, friends and nation proud.
Saturday’s Closing Ceremony will offer the competitors along with their families and friends, a final chance to celebrate the tremendous achievement of this resilient group of individuals and acknowledge the power of sport to heal wounds, both physical and invisible.
The Invictus Games is an international, adaptive multi-sports competition for serving and former military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service. Team Australia is delivered in partnership between Invictus Australia and the Australian Defence Force, and consists of 31 competitors.
Düsseldorf is the sixth city to host the Invictus Games, following The Hague in 2022, Sydney in 2018, Toronto in 2017, Orlando in 2016 and London in 2014.
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WHERE TO WATCH
From Saturday, 9 September, all competitions of INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies can be streamed for free and without login on the German website (https://invictusgames23.de) and YouTube channel (https://youtube.com/@invictusgamesdusseldorf2023).
To keep up to date and see exclusive behind the scenes content from Team Australia’s journey make sure you are following us on all social channels.
About Invictus Australia: Invictus Australia encourages veterans and their families to connect and engage with their communities through sport. Whether participating or volunteering at grassroots level, to competing internationally at an Invictus or Warrior Games, Invictus Australia leverages the power of sport to proactively foster good health and aid in recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. Invictus Australia promotes the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport for all, and shine a light on the unique needs of younger veterans, particularly the challenges associated with transitioning from military to civilian life.
About the Invictus Games: The 2023 Invictus Games takes place from the 9th – 16th September in Dusseldorf, Germany. Invictus Australia, in partnership with the Australian Defence Force, are supporting 31 former and current serving competitors as part of Team Australia. The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for serving and former serving military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service. Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, is the Patron of the Invictus Games. The Games uses the healing power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and celebrate the crucial role played by family and friends.