The story of the 2017 Invictus Games

By Suzanne Oliphant

The 3rd annual Invictus Games came to a close in Toronto on Saturday. The ceremony marked the end of the event which sees war veterans from all around the world compete in a variety of sports.

The closing ceremony, which was held in Air Canada Centre, had a star-studded line up to officially close the week long event. Competitors and viewers were treated to performances from Kelly Clarkson, Bryan Adams and The Boss, Bruce Springsteen.

The ceremony also saw individual participants be given awards as well as everyone given a participation medal. Mark Ormrod of Team UK was awarded with the Jaguar Award for exceptional performance, determination and dedication. While Team Afghanistan won the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award for sportsmanship, commitment and spirit.

17 countries took part in the games this year including host nation Canada, UK, USA, Afghanistan and Iraq. Athletes competed in 12 different sports throughout the games which included wheelchair tennis, archery, athletics and swimming. It was the biggest games yet with over 550 competitors.

The UK won a number of medals, including 2 gold medals for Wheelchair Tennis where Kevin Drake and Alexander Krol won 5 matches, including a semi-final against fellow UK competitors Kirk Hughes and Cornelia Oosthu, to win gold against New Zealand in the final.

Many of the athletes who compete in the games take part in multiple sports instead of just one like those in the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.

The Invictus Games have been a success over the last three years and are about much more than sport. It uses sport as a tool to help wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women from around the world to rehabilitate.

The event is made worth while as the competitors are helped to rehabilitate by taking part in an event on a global scale when for many it would be a struggle to leave their homes. The word ‘Invictus’ meaning unconquered is a fitting name for these games as it highlights the fighting spirit and determination of these athletes.

The games have successfully inspired others to take part and join the road to recovery.

Martin Tye from Team UK is one such individual who has benefitted form the games. Martin lost the ability to walk after he was injured in Kabul in 2009. Like many of the competitors in the games, Martin battled with mental health issues and depression during his recovery which made it difficult to move on with his life.

Martin competed in rowing, wheelchair rugby, powerlifting, athletics, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. Although this may seem like a lot of hard work, Martin won an impressive 7 medals in the wide range of sports he participated in. He won gold in rowing and powerlifting, silver in sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby and 4 minute endurance in rowing and bronze in wheelchair basketball and shotput.

He is a prime example of how the Invictus Games has a positive impact on veterans’ lives and help them to recover by taking part in an event with many others who have gone through similar challenges as himself and uniting together through sport.

The 2018 Invictus Games will be held in Sydney, Australia.

 

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