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Annual Report 2014–15

Feature Articles

Masters of their fate

Australian athletes preparing to compete at the Invictus Games gather in Sydney before their departure to London.

The courage and determination of more than 400 wounded warriors demonstrated the true meaning of the Invictus Games held in London from 10 to 14 September 2014.

The Invictus Games are an international adaptive multi-sport competition for current and former military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill in the service of their country.

On the final day of the four-day sporting event, athletes joined a crowd of close to 26,000 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a concert featuring stars such as the Foo Fighters and James Blunt.

After four days of intense commitment, the Australian team marched onto the stage to receive a medallion commemorating their involvement.

They were joined by athletes from Afghanistan, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Georgia, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

His Royal Highness Prince Harry passed on a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who said she had followed the competition and was deeply moved by the courage, determination and talent of the athletes.

‘All of you have used the power of sport to enhance your own recovery and to raise wider awareness of the enormous challenges faced by wounded veterans’, she said.

‘The success of these Games can be measured not by medals won, but by the renewed sense of purpose and confidence in your abilities that you have gained.’

Medal tallies were not officially recorded for the Invictus Games, but the combined ADF/RSL team won close to 20 events, including athletics, cycling, archery, swimming and rowing.

The team also made an impression on the other nations with their style and sportsmanship during the wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball events.

Prince Harry said the Games shone a ‘spotlight on the unconquerable character of servicemen and women and their families—their invictus spirit’.

‘These Games have been about seeing guys sprinting for the finish line and then turning around to clap the last man in’, he said.

‘They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together—not wanting to come second, but not wanting the other guys to either.

‘These Games have shown the very best of the human spirit.’