Current and former Australian Defence Force personnel will compete for a place in the 2017 Australian Invictus Games team at selection trials this week in Canberra.
CAPTION: Mark Urquart pumps his fist in triumph as he wins the 400m wheelchair race at the Invictus Games 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Leading Seaman Jayson Tufrey.
Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said about 80 athletes were expected to compete in the trials for a place in Australia’s 40-person team for the third Invictus Games to be held in Toronto, Canada from 23-30 September.
Prince Harry established the Invictus Games as an international, adaptive multi-sports competition for current and former military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill in service.
More than 550 athletes from up to 17 nations are expected to compete in Toronto in individual and team sports including swimming, archery, cycling, track and field, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, powerlifting, golf and indoor rowing.
Mr Tehan said the Invictus Games showcased top-class athletes and the triumph of the human spirit.
“Just as we respect the service and sacrifice of the men and women of our defence forces, we respect the competitors this week as athletes who have trained hard and sacrificed much to reach this level of excellence, and I wish them all the best in the trials,” Mr Tehan said.
“The physical and mental benefits of training for, and competing in, events like the Invictus Games are invaluable to our current and former ADF personnel, their family and friends.
“Australia’s involvement in the Invictus Games is part of a broader Adaptive Sports Program sponsored by the ADF and RSL in which current and former serving wounded, injured and ill members participate in a variety of competitions.
“Promoting positive mental health and providing the necessary care, rehabilitation and support to ADF personnel who are wounded, injured or ill is one of Defence’s highest priorities.”
The ADF is partnering with the Returned and Services League to send the team to Toronto. The 2018 Invictus Games will be held in Sydney..