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Iceni Magazine | August 18, 2017

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Prince Harry unveils the UK team for the Invictus Games Toronto 2017

  • Prince Harry unveils the 90-strong team of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) military personnel and veterans who have been selected to represent the UK at the 2017 Invictus
  • Getting involved in sport helps with self-confidence and feeling psychologically These significant mental health benefits can be translated outside of sport and into everyday life.
  • The UK delegation to the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 is being delivered by a partnership comprising The Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes, and The Royal British
  • Jaguar Land Rover is proud to support the UK Team, and are presenting partners of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017.

Prince Harry, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, has this morning unveiled the team of 90 competitors selected to represent the UK at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017.

The 90-strong team of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) serving military personnel and veterans came together for the first time since selection at the Tower of London. Prince Harry met the team ahead of the forthcoming Invictus Games in September, and posed for the first official team photograph.

More hopefuls than ever before, 306 WIS military personnel and veterans, trialed 11 sports for one of the 90 places available on the UK team. The rigorous selection process was based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training.

The 2017 UK Team Captain was also named this morning as former Army Major Bernie Broad, who takes over the mantel from 2016 Captain, David Wiseman. Bernie lost both his legs below the knee due to injuries sustained in an explosion in Helmand Province in 2009. He underwent four years of extensive surgery and rehabilitation followed by two years of assistance from the Personnel Recovery Unit at Chetwynd Barracks in Chilwell.

He said: “Since being medically retired from the Armed Forces in 2014, I feel that I have taken my foot off the gas and become quite complacent. I have always been a keen and competitive sportsman, so I kick started my fitness regime and now regularly swim, cycle and walk. I am looking forward to taking part in the Invictus Games as I see this involvement as a way to re-focus me physically and mentally and to re-engage in a full, active, competitive and fulfilling life.”

On being chosen as UK Team Captain, he added: “The Invictus Games are empowering and inspire all of us as competitors to be the best version of ourselves. It allows us to be judged on what we can achieve, rather than what we can’t. To simply be selected for the UK Team was an amazing achievement. To then be further selected as the UK Team Captain filled me with such immense pride and it is a huge privilege to be given this honour. I definitely stood taller and my chest expanded quite a bit!”

The team will continue to train in various locations across the country as part of Help for Heroes’ extensive Sports Recovery programme and role to train and develop the team.

Over 60% of this year’s team are new to the Invictus Games and were spurred on to apply off the back of the inaugural Invictus Games in 2014, the success of the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando and the day-to-day sports recovery activity that  takes place.

The team will compete in 11 sports: Athletics; Archery; Wheelchair Basketball; Cycling; Powerlifting; Indoor Rowing; Wheelchair Rugby; Swimming, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Tennis and a new sport for 2017, Golf.

There are 7 athletes from the East and 19 athletes from the West Midlands with 4 having been supported directly by Chavasse VC House in Colchester. The H4H Recovery Centre is 1 of 4 across the UK and has 27 single en-suite bedrooms, 2 family rooms and can accommodate day visitors.

35 year old London born Arron Dindyal, who now lives on the Essex/Hertfordshire borders, joined the Army in 2003. He suffers from a progressive degenerative spinal condition and will require full-time use of a wheelchair in the future so was discharged in 2011.

Arron said: “The benefits from competing in the Games is huge. To have the pride in myself to represent my country again will have such an impact that I can’t put it into words. Being able to play sport has given me a self-worth again. I want to make my family proud and inspire others wounded in service to see that injuries are not the end, but the start of a new chapter”.

He added: “Chavasse VC House has been a great source of support. From using the sports facilities to social events and having support from a key worker. The support they provide has not only allowed me to interact with my peers again but has allowed my family to gain an insight into what Y go through.  My wife has made good friends  there   and gained a support network. Although I may have the injuries it’s not just me effected”.

Chavasse VC House has also supported Craig Winspear. The Former Army Lance Corporal, 35 year old from Bedfordshire, lost both of his legs and sustained multiple other injuries after a bomb exploded beneath him. He was medically discharged after competing in Invictus 2016 and has since found it hard to cope.

Craig said: “The Invictus Games has always motivated me. Being part of something, the camaraderie, being someone again and for my daughter to look up and see that I am still pushing forward in my life and overcoming diversity”.

He added: “Help for Heroes helped me get into the sport. They funded my Basketball Wheelchair and have supported me with training camps and coaching. It’s easy to just sit on the couch and feel sorry for yourself, but you need to stay focused on something. Something that gets you out and about, socialising with other people and enjoying life. Sport has done that for me”.

The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 will take place from 23 – 30 September. To find out more, go to www.invictusgames2017.com

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