The achievements of more than 550 wounded warriors were celebrated on Saturday night, 30 September, at the closing ceremony of the 2017 Invictus Games.
CAPTION: Australian team co-captains Captain Emma Kadziolka and Sergeant Peter Rutland and their families display the Invictus Games Flag after officially accepting it on behalf of Sydney, during the 2017 closing ceremony in Toronto. Photo by Corporal Mark Doran.
The ceremony celebrated the spirit of this year’s games and provided a fitting end to the international adaptive sports competition for wounded, injured and ill serving and former military personnel from 17 nations.
Air Canada Centre once again played host to a raft of powerhouse musical performances, world dignitaries and stories of inspiration, before the games flag was passed to Sydney, which will host the 2018 Invictus Games.
Sergeant Peter Rudland, co-captain of the Australian team, officially received the official Invictus Games flag alongside co-captain Captain Emma Kadziolka.
Sergeant Rudland said he could not describe how proud he was to be out there alongside Captain Kadziolka to receive the official flag for Australia.
“I feel so privileged,” Sergeant Rudland said.
“But, seeing how far everyone has come has been the highlight for me.
“That’s what the Invictus Games are all about.
“Everyone got out there during the games, tried their absolute hardest.
“So many have achieved personal bests in their sports.”
NZ Team Medal Tally
While Australian officials did not give a final medal count (thought the half-way haul was reported as 37), New Zealand was proud to have achieved its highest medal tally at any Invictus Games thus far – the 24-strong team picking up 11 medals during eight days of competition.
- Vanessa Bawden-Pere, Women’s Midweight Powerlifting.
- Major Craig Wilson, Men’s IR3 4min Indoor Row
- Major Craig Wilson, Men’s IR3 1min Indoor Row
- PO Aaron Gibbs & Glenn Barnes, Open Doubles Wheelchair Tennis.
- Allister Baker, Men’s IR5 1min Indoor Row
- LT Dan Crawford, Men’s IR6 4min Indoor Row
- Glenn Barnes, Men’s IR2 1min Indoor Row
- LT Dan Crawford, Men’s IT7 400m.
- LT Dan Crawford, Men’s IT7 1500m.
- LT Dan Crawford, Men’s IR6 1min Indoor Row
- PO Ihaka Matairangi, Nicki Fairbairn & WO2 Koro Hati, Team Novice Recurve Archery
However, NZDF Invictus team captain Jason Pore said the games had not been about the medals so much as it had been about doing the best each individual could do for themselves and their families.
“Making the finals has been an added bonus to the success of individual achievements, and making it on to the podium has added to their personal successes,” Jason said.
“The medals won have been for the team, their families and for New Zealand.”
Team vice-captain, Flight Lieutenant Jules Gilligan, said it was hard to describe how proud she was of the team.
“Everyone has given their all, regardless of the huge challenges they face,” Flight Lieutenant Gilligan said.
“Each person will be changed from this experience.
“This team’s members are some of the strongest and most determined people I have ever met.
“They have such heart.
“They are the epitome of what the word ‘team’ means to me.
“This is why I rejoined the Defence Force and it is a true privilege to watch their victories.”
Watch some of the games action in video:
See all our Invictus Games Coverage here.