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Joel Vanderzwan

ADF Service: I joined the Royal Australian Navy in March 2007 and served to December 2012. I was an Able Seaman Marine Technician. A career highlight was RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise) 2010 on HMAS Kanimbla.

Age: 30

Home town: Illawarra, New South Wales

Current town: Sutherland Shire, New South Wales

Competing in: Archery, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing and wheelchair rugby

Joel Vanderzwan

What is the nature of your injury or illness?

In 2011 I had a motorcycle accident resulting in T6 complete paraplegia.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

Sport for rehabilitation is integral not only for your physical health but for your mental wellbeing. Sport has been a big part of my life, so after my injury, it made sense to adapt and use sporting goals to help achieve rehabilitation goals. Sport is the foundation on which many of us rebuild our purpose in life after injury.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

My greatest achievement is being able to leverage my injury to rebuild myself and motivate others to enjoy what they have in life.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games?

To test myself and set an example that rehabilitation and reintegration into society never stops. It requires constant work to be able to adapt and achieve your goals.

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

Winning to me is being part of a team and being part of something that has changed so many veterans and their families.

The person I most admire is...

The many people who have guided me along my journey - each of them has helped shape the person I am today. Having the support, love and respect of my partner Alexandra helps me be someone others can admire.