Invictus Games 2018 competitors and officials have been honoured with the awarding of the Australian Sports Medal in a moving ceremony at the Australian War Memorial on December 1.
CAPTION: The Australian Sports Medal was awarded to Team Australia competitors and officials in recognition of their participation at Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at a ceremony held at the Australian War Memorial. Story by Squadron Leader Amanda Scott.
Three years ago, Australians embraced Invictus competitors as they created an important legacy, showing what it means to serve the nation and the sacrifices made in doing so.
Australians were inspired and humbled by the resilience shown by the wounded, injured and ill competitors who, despite their setbacks, showed their unconquered spirit.
Warrant Officer, Geoff Stokes, Team Australia Head Coach who received the medal said it was a very special occasion and a moving service that saw a very deserving group of people recognised.
“Invictus Games was a very special event to be part of, it shows that you can go out and do things that you may not have done before,” WO Stokes said.
“The willingness of the competitors to add to the challenges that already face was one of the most rewarding things for me, they come to you and say I can only do this sport and the next thing they are giving another two or three sports a go at a competitive level, it’s a fabulous outcome.”
The combined 72-member Australian team – supported by the ADF and RSL – were universally proud to represent their country on home soil and be cheered along by families and friends who have been integral in their paths to recovery.
WO Stokes who also received his Federation Star at today’s ceremony looks back fondly at his 50 year service to Defence and says serving as the Head Coach the Invictus Games has been one of the highlights.
“I have met some fantastic people and to be able to finish off in a role in adaptive sport that looks after both current and former serving was a nice balance for me,” he said.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II recently amended eligibility requirements governing the Australian Sports Medal.
The medal may now be awarded to official members of Australian teams who participate in eligible international multi-sport events, beginning with the Invictus Games which was held in Sydney in October 2018.
The Invictus Games are an international sporting event for current and former serving military personnel who have been wounded, injured or ill during their military service.
Australia is currently preparing a team for the fifth Invictus Games to be held from next April in The Hague, The Netherlands.