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Steve Sandman

ADF Service: I joined the Australian Army in April 2001 and served as an Infantryman in the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR).

I discharged medically in August 2014.

Age: 35

Hometown: Hobart, Tasmania

Current town: Woodside, South Australia

Competing in: Archery

Steve Sandman

What is the Nature of your injury or illness?

Osteoarthritis in both knees, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and severe hearing loss.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

Sport has played a massive role in my recovery and ongoing rehabilitation.

When I left the ADF in late 2014 my right leg was locked in a brace, I couldn’t walk more than a few hundred metres at a time and was told I would never run again. I felt like my world had fallen apart and I struggled with depression and suicide.

In 2015 I decided that I couldn’t accept that and started training using gym work, mountain biking/cycling and kayaking, intending to compete in multisport events and adventure racing. This, I achieved in 2016, competing in a number of off-road multisport races, road cycling and archery at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, as well as the Australian cross country marathon and gravity enduro mountain bike titles in 2017.

I also continued to compete in target and field archery, at both a state and national level, winning tournaments across both disciplines.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Finishing the 2016 Magnetic Island Adventurethon because it was the first multisport race I completed since leaving the ADF; and placing fourth in the archery at Invictus Games 2016.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games 2018?

As soldiers, we become goal focused and, even though we don’t realise it at the time, we become accustomed to pushing ourselves forward to achieve an objective.

After discharge, training for and competing in my chosen sports has changed my outlook on life and helped me to reignite my drive and focus, pushing me mentally and physically.

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

As much as I would love to win my event and take home a medal in front of a home crowd, winning to me has been training with - and competing against - so many great shooters, making it through the selection process and representing Australia on the international stage.

The person I most admire is…

Nino Schurter , the current cross country (XC) mountain bike world champion and the only rider to win every round of the XC World Cup, as well as the world championship, in one season.

From reading about his life, I understand that we can either remain stuck in the past, feel sorry for ourselves and play the blame game, or we can choose to look forward, find the next challenge and get on with life.