Kingsford resident, soccer enthusiast and soldier, Sergeant Nathan Vardanega, will be representing Defence at the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
Nathan will be among 15 Defence members and 21 RSL sponsored athletes competing at the inaugural event in London, an initiative of His Royal Highness Prince Harry.Over 400 competitors from 14 nations will take part in the Invictus Games from September 10 to 14. Teams will come from the armed forces of nations that have served alongside each other.
Nathan joined the Army in 2003 and was deployed to Timor Leste in 2006-07 and to Afghanistan in 2007-08. He injured his hand and lost a finger in a training accident. At home he enjoys brewing beer and making cheese.
Nathan said he was excited to be part of the Australian team competing at the Invictus Games.
"This has given me a chance to be around other people who have experienced trauma through their service and I see this as an opportunity to pass on how I coped with my recovery and rehabilitation," Nathan said.
"I’m not going over to compete to win or get a medal; however, I’m not saying I’m going over there to lose.
"I want to push myself to the limit and know I gave it my all.
"Without knowing the competition it’s hard to say if I have a good, great or poor chance of a medal.
Nathan said preparation for the Games was limited, but he was lucky to have some colleagues who pushed him through his training sessions.
"My training has been very varied, with one to two sessions a day consisting of spin, road cycling and sprints or rowing," Nathan said.
"It will be a challenge due to the enormity of the event."
"The Invictus Games is a fantastic opportunity to share with other veterans, regardless of their service or country, about how to cope and get through the challenges of rehabilitation."
During the Games Nathan will compete in indoor rowing, road cycling, sitting volleyball and athletics.