Just three years ago, James Saville was bed-bound, but the Invictus Games 2022 provided motivation in his rehabilitation.
CAPTION: Invictus Games 2020 Team Australia competitor Braedon Griffiths attacks the try line during a wheelchair rugby pool match against Canada at Invictus Games Park in The Hague, Netherlands. Story by Lucy Redford-Hunt. Photo by Flight Sergeant Ricky Fuller.
Leg and back injuries left him unable to walk for 12 months.
“I couldn’t get out of bed by myself, I couldn’t dress myself and I couldn’t shower. Invictus was the driving force through all my rehab – physio daily and hydrotherapy every second day,” Saville said.
He was part of the Australian indoor rowing squad that competed on April 20 – day five of the games, which are being held at The Hague, Netherlands.
“Everyone here is just such an inspiration and whether you’re getting 50th or you’re getting first, it doesn’t matter. Everyone’s always there to congratulate you and cheer you on,” he said.
CAPTION: Australian Invictus Games 2020 competitor James Saville celebrates winning gold in the men’s IR4 four-minute endurance indoor rowing event at Invictus Games Park in The Hague, Netherlands. Photo by Flight Sergeant Ricky Fuller.
Meanwhile, it was another emotional day for Matthew Model, who won gold in both the men’s IR6 four-minute and one-minute indoor rowing events.
“I’ve trained pretty hard for this and to come away with back-to-back gold is pretty emotional,” Model said of his win.
“I shed a few tears out the back with the team.
“All the indoor rowers have put in an amazing effort today and they should all hold their heads high.
“Bling or no bling, they’ve done their country proud. This is what Invictus is all about.
“Out the back, it was like one big team. You have all 17 nations just binding together.
“Having Ukraine out the back – there were a few special moments.
“There were a lot of tears, a lot of emotion on top of a lot of camaraderie. We all banded together, and we had fun and we enjoyed it.”
CAPTION: Australian Invictus Games Team Member Matthew Model. Photo by Corporal Oliver Carter.
Highlights from the day also included:
• Emilea Mysko secured silver medals in the women’s IR5 four-minute and the women’s IR5 one-minute rowing events
• Corporal Sarah Petchell rowed her way to gold in the women’s IR6 one-minute
• Kerrie Tessier won gold in the women’s IR3 four-minute event with a new personal best, and scored a silver medal in the women’s IR3 one-minute
• Lenny Redrose snagged his first medal of the games – a bronze in the men’s IR2 four-minute
• Peter William Brown won gold in the men’s IR4 one-minute and bronze in the men’s IR4 four-minute
• Peter Walter Brown won silver in both the men’s IR5 four-minute and IR5 one-minute.
In the wheelchair rugby semi-finals, the Australian side took on Team USA.
Despite a valiant effort, the Australians went down by 10 tries in the 21-11 defeat.
The Wheeling Diggers then bounced back to blitz their way to the bronze when they beat the French side 27-10.