Emotional welcome as Team Australia Descends on Dusseldorf for Invictus Games 2023
Team Australia has touched down to a warm welcome in Dusseldorf, Germany, ready for the start of the sixth Invictus Games which begins this Sunday. It was such an unexpected moment that it brought tears to the eyes of some of the competitors and their families and friends.
Hordes of enthusiastic volunteers were waiting for Team AUS, cheering and waving them in after the long flight from Sydney. Buddy, a Hovawart dog and official mascot of the Invictus Games, was also on hand for cuddles and high fives, and Australian flags were held aloft as the German hospitality was on display.
According to Head Coach Lieutenant Colonel Craig Johnson,
“It’s great to be here. The warmth of this welcome has been amazing. I’m sure it’s a great step on the rehab journey for the team. I did actually feel emotional about it coming in. I didn’t expect it (although) I did know there would be volunteers here to help out, but I think it was their enthusiasm and genuine happiness to see us, and I think they’re ready for us to be here for the week and they’re going to look after us really well. That sort of commit is very warming.”
Joining Team Australia on their journey is Co-Captain Able Seaman Taryn Dickens who shared the exhilaration of finally touching down in Germany.
“The welcome was fantastic. Lots of applause, very happy smiling faces, and Germany definitely seems excited to have us here.”
Taryn’s partner Dee concurred, saying, “It was like your own personal cheer squad with dogs. It was really awesome. It brought tears to my eyes, it was special.”
Lenny Redrose, returning for his second Invictus Games, hadn’t experienced this kind of welcome before.
I was not expecting this. This is amazing, well done Germany. Here we are in Dusseldorf 2023! Here we go guys!”
The team consisting of 31 current and former military personnel, along with around 80 of their family and friends, arrived in Germany ahead of the week-long Games campaign.
Competition begins on Sunday 10 September, with Team Australia participating in individual and team sports, including archery, athletics, cycling, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, powerlifting, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and in its games debut – table tennis.
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where to watch the games
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 website (https://invictusgames23.de) and YouTube channel (https://youtube.com/@invictusgamesdusseldorf2023).
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.
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.