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Warrior Games selection camp 2024

Warrior Games Team of wounded veterans forge bonds and sharpen skills at AIS training camp

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra recently buzzed with activity as a determined group of competitors gathered for a training camp. These weren’t your typical Olympic hopefuls – they were the confirmed team travelling in June for the Warrior Games, veterans ready to showcase their resilience and sportsmanship on an international stage.  

Taking place in Orlando, Florida, the 30 competitors selected will compete against other wounded, ill and injured current and former serving veterans from the US defence force in a range of adaptive sports. The games are designed to enhance recovery by engaging veterans in sport, allowing them to make connections outside traditional military settings.  

The team was announced earlier this week by Minister Matt Keogh, who was excited that “Australians don’t have to wait until the Olympics to see our sporting prowess on the world stage, with a taste of our nations’ talents set to be showcased at the Warrior Games in Orlando, Florida in June.” 

Minister Keogh continued:

Team Australia embodies the values of courage, resilience and mateship, and participation in the Warrior Games not only highlights their athletic talents but also underscores our unwavering commitment to their resilience, rehabilitation and recovery.”

HON Matt keogh mp


The state-of-the-the-art AIS facilities provided the perfect setting for this important camp. “In an Olympic and Paralympic year,” shared Team Manager, CPO Anne Pahl, “We were wrapped to be at the Australian Institute of Sport to facilitate our Warrior Games training camp. It’s really wonderful to be here.” The sentiment was echoed by the competitors themselves, who relished the opportunity to train in such a prestigious environment. 

Beyond the Gym: Building a Warrior games Team Identity 

The training camp focused on creating a strong bond and the diverse range of sports Team Australia will compete in – archery, athletics (track and field), cycling, indoor rowing, swimming, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. One of the few times this team will meet before they head to the Games, the weekend was essential for the competitors, who gained knowledge and expertise from the team of coaches and had a chance to gel.  

“The AIS camp was a fantastic opportunity for our Warrior Games hopefuls to train alongside each other, hone their skills in the various competition sports, and build that vital team spirit,” shared Adam Pine, Director of Teams, Alumni and Pathways at Invictus Australia. “Witnessing their dedication and camaraderie was a powerful reminder of the transformative impact sport can have on the lives of veterans.” 

Pine’s sentiment that the camp wasn’t just about sharpening skills for competition was echoed by all involved. A strong emphasis was placed on team building and fostering a sense of camaraderie. Competitors from various backgrounds, skill levels and service history came together, sharing stories, supporting each other, and forging a united front that will be crucial on the world stage. 

A Mentor’s Perspective: Laura’s Journey 

Among the competitors was Laura Reynell, one of the few participants returning for a second time. Laura travelled to Germany last year to compete in the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023, where she competed in archery, powerlifting and indoor rowing, taking home a silver medal and making memories to last a lifetime.  

Erin Brigden embraces Laura Reynell in the indoo rowing at Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023
Laura Reynell competes in Indoor rowing during the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023

This time around, Laura is looking to guide others through the experience she cherishes so deeply.  “I’m still here to have fun and learn alongside everyone else. My main focus is to ensure everyone has the best possible experience. Drawing on my own experiences, I can help them navigate the challenges and get the most out of an environment like the Warrior Games.” 

Laura emphasises that while competition is important, she will encourage first time Team Australia competitors to turn their attention to forming social connections with other participants. “You can never predict what will happen,” she says, “but with an open mind and heart, you’ll have an amazing experience meeting people from all walks of life. Forming new connections became the best part for me.”

The camaraderie is even more crucial than the sport itself. It’s the shared experiences and the understanding that comes with being part of the Defence community that truly makes a difference.”



This sentiment resonated with many of the participants at the camp, who found solace and support in connecting with others who understood the unique challenges of transitioning from military service to civilian life. 

Staying Active and Connected: Life After the Games 

Laura acknowledges that there may be individual challenges when returning home from the US after the high of an international sporting event. However, she emphasises the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle and building a strong support network. 

I did find it tough coming back from the Games because you are so used to a team environment. But, through engaging in local sport, I still have a strong community around me.” 



Invictus Australia’s local engagement program can help combat these challenges. Open to veterans and their families, Veteran Engagement Managers stationed around the country facilitate community sporting events that mirror the camaraderie, sportsmanship and connections of both the defence force and international sporting events, such as the Warrior Games. To find an event near you, click here, or sign up to your local Facebook group to be notified of exciting opportunities.  

With another AIS camp under their belt, Team Australia will return home and train locally as they prepare for the 2024 DoD Warrior Games, set to take place from the 21st – 30th June. We eagerly await their performance at the upcoming Games, confident that they will not only compete with distinction but also forge lasting bonds and inspire others on their journeys of recovery and transformation. This year’s Warrior Games can be streamed on the DoD Warrior Games YouTube channel.  

Help support Team Australia and Local Defence Communities.  

If you are interested in supporting the delivery of future Team Australia’s on the international stage or are passionate about how sport can be used within Defence communities to strengthen the lives of veterans and families, join the ZERO600 challenge this June.  

Rise at 6am, for 6 days for our Aussie veterans, while supporting Invictus Australia’s international and community work. To find out more, and join the ZERO600 community, click here.  

Invictus Australia partners with the Australian Defence Force to deliver Team Australia for both the Warrior and Invictus Games as part of the ADF Adaptive Sport Program. Learn more here.  

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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.