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Sarah Sliwka

ADF Service: I joined the Australian Army in 2002 and worked as a Linesman in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals (RA Sigs) and with the Australian Federation Guard for one year. I medically discharged in 2006.

Age: 34

Hometown: Broken Hill, New South Wales

Current town: Brisbane, Queensland

Competing in: Powerlifting and swimming

What is the Nature of your injury or illness?

I have a lower back injury and curved spine; broken bones in my right arm; snapped ligaments in my right ankle; and a strained Achilles tendon.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

After military discharge I wanted to strengthen my body. Weight training has given me a focus outside of the military and my current job. I am now confident in what my body can do and don’t worry too much about injuring myself.

Sport helps me deal with stress.

I have met many amazing athletes who have inspired and motivated me and taught me ways to deal with failure via more positive thinking.

Sport gives me something to strive for and a sense of achievement.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Winning my Pro card for the Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA). This enabled me to compete for prizemoney and, after I finished competing, to judge international events.

Representing Australia at last year’s Invictus Games and winning two silver medals in two different sports was pretty special.

I have also qualified for this year’s Australian national Powerlifting competition.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games 2018?

I want to represent Australia and the ADF on our home turf.

When I competed at last years’ Invictus Games I experienced something I hadn't had in a very long time, feeling like I was a part of the Defence community again. The friends I have made from reconnecting with military personnel has been the best thing to come out of my Invictus Games experiences.

What will “winning” look like for you at these Games?

Just walking out at the Opening ceremony in front of a home crowd, with all my teammates, is winning. We have all trained so hard and just want to show the country what we are all capable of.

If I can stand on that podium again it would be an extra bonus. And if I can help others to do the same – that’s winning.

The person I most admire is…

World champion Paralympian and former Invictus competitor Curtis McGrath is someone I look up to for his positive mind frame, athletic ability and accomplishments.

I am inspired by every Invictus Games competitor because they are dealing with different injuries or illnesses and coming through as better people.