Australian Invictus Games team announcement
The Australian team selected to represent their country at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 was announced earlier this month on a hot Sydney day at Victoria Barracks.
What a sight.
32 current and former serving Australian veterans in the green and gold, standing by their ADF colleagues, friends and family and surrounded by those who have helped support them on their journey.
Close to take off
In May, the team will take off for the Netherlands and compete at the Games, which brings together over 500 competitors from 20 nations.
Sergeant Shane Bramley and Corporal Sarah Petchell were unveiled as team captains, following in the footsteps of Nicole Bradley and Matt Brumby from Sydney, and spoke at the team announcement.
“It’s a proud moment for Sarah and I to be selected as representatives for the team,” said Shane. “There are 81 days to go. We poise ourselves. We are steadfast. We are determined. And we are ready.”
Sarah reflected on how far every one of the competitors had already come.
“Before the Invictus Games entered your mind, you were already on this road… Through the camps in the lead up to the Games we’ve been learning about each other, laughing, crying, picking each other up and becoming a team,” said Sarah. “It will be moments of shared hardship, pain and success that moulds our unconquerable team spirit.”
All of our support
At the announcement, the Director General of ADF Sports, Brigadier Phil Winter AM CSC, paid tribute to the competitors and the many people and organisations that have been involved in the journey to the Games, including the RSL and VSA. Air Marshall Warren McDonald AM CSC spoke of the power of sport and overcoming adversity, no matter how tough, to finish your race.
Assistant Defence Minister the Hon Alex Hawke MP represented the Government and spoke about his pride in announcing the Australian team. Minister Hawke emphasised that the whole of Australia would be behind each competitor. “We’re all so very proud of our Australian team and proud of all of you as athletes and what you’re going to achieve over there in the Netherlands,” said Minister Hawke.
“So I want to just say to everybody here, to the athletes, to the service personnel, former service personnel, the veterans, their families, everyone that made the journey, congratulations and today really is in the great spirit, it’s a spirit of achievement and spirit of congratulations that we say well done on making the Australian team, our hopes and dreams are obviously behind you.”
Hon Alex Hawke MP, Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific
Veteran Sport Australia is proud to be supporting the Australian Team, working in close partnership with the ADF and RSL.
VSA was established as a legacy of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 by the RSL and is generously supported by RSL NSW, the RSL NSW’s Welfare and Benevolent Institution and the Australian International Military Games, the organising committee for the 2018 Games.
VSA’s role is focused on supporting former serving members of the Adaptive Sport Program, including organising travel, accommodation and uniforms for camps and competitions. The Adaptive Sport Program delivers teams to the Invictus Games and Warrior Games.
Straight back to it
A reception held shortly after the announcement gave everyone the chance to have a cup of tea, speak about the journey so far and look ahead to what was still to come.
Every competitor will compete in multiple sports during a busy week-long schedule in The Hague. From team sports like wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball to individual sports like powerlifting and athletics, there’s no doubt that spectators will be entertained on every day of the Games.
However before too long, Head Coach of the team, Geoff Stokes, brought everyone back to the task ahead: “Australian Team, 5 minutes until the bus leaves!”
Yes, it was time to get back on the bus to head to camp at Narrabeen for more training sessions.
It’s hard work but it will pay off.
It already has.