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Corporal Sarah Petchell

ADF Service: I come from a proud history of service in the Australian Army. My father served in Vietnam and grandfather in WWII. I joined the Australian Army as a reservist clerk in 1998 and transferred to the regular Army in 2012. My postings have included Defence Force Recruiting, the Sydney University Regiment, 39th Personnel Support Battalion, 1st Intelligence Battalion, 11 Close Health Battalion and 6th Royal Australian Regiment and the Army Personnel Administration Centre – South Queensland. In 2012 I helped set up the Soldier Recovery Centre in Brisbane which supports wounded, injured and ill soldiers returning to work or transitioning out of the military.

Age: 39

Home town: Sydney, New South Wales

Current town: Brisbane, Queensland

Competing in: Athletics, powerlifting and indoor rowing

Corporal Sarah Petchell

What is the nature of your injury or illness?

I have spinal pain, a shoulder tear and instability, chronic pain in my feet and instability in my ankles. These conditions are the result of various injuries.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

Powerlifting has allowed me to build up the muscles in my shoulders and back, helping to stabilise areas of concern. Having to deal with pain every day is wearing on me emotionally but sport gives me goal I can focus on.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

To be able to be part of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 team and represent Australia in powerlifting in 2015 and 2016 was a great achievement. Also I work with amazing children at the Queensland Children’s Hospital School and Enoggera State School.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games?

Dealing with various musculoskeletal injuries, the worsening of my other injuries and constant pain has been a driving force in my involvement with Invictus Games. The desire to be better and to be more than what I am amidst pain is what keeps me focused. Invictus Games Sydney 2018 allowed me to progress and I am looking for the same in 2020.

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

Winning will be inspiring my team mates and others who identify with me to be the best they can and then achieving my own physical goals along the way.

The person I most admire is...

Curtis McGrath, paracanoeist, world champion and Olympic gold medallist continues to inspire me. When I contacted him in my capacity as a School Chaplain to send a message to a boy on his 16th birthday who had a total leg amputation Curtis dropped what he was doing and made a special trip up to the Queensland Children’s Hospital to see this boy and spend time with his family. Curtis inspired him and showed him that, despite what had happened to him, there was still much he could plan for his life and his future.