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Game On Down Under

Posted by Speakeasy News > Sunday 14 October 2018 > Celebrate


The Invictus Games, initiated by Prince Harry for injured service people, is in Sydney, Australia for its fourth edition from 20 to 27 October. It is especially poignant in the weeks before the commemoration of the end of the First World War.

Prince Harry opening the Sydney Games.
Prince Harry opening the Sydney Games.

Prince Harry served in the British Armed Forces for ten years. In 2013, he visited to the Warrior Games in the U.S.A., where injured American service personnel compete in adaptive sports. He was inspired to initiate an international competition in the UK, where 13 nations competed in nine sports in 2014. European and Commonwealth countries participated with the U.S.A. and Afghanistan.

Disability sports were developed to help the rehabilitation of soldiers injured in World War One. Since 1960, the Paralympic Games accompany every Olympic Games. The Invictus Games is open to former servicepeople who were injured or became ill through their time in the forces.

The Sydney Games is welcoming 18 nations and 500 competitors.

France faced Poland in sitting volleyball.
France faced Poland in sitting volleyball.

A unique aspect of the Invictus Games is that each competitor can bring two guests, in recognition of the great importance friends and family play in helping those who have been wounded through their rehabilitation.

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There are 12 sports: archery, athletics, indoor rowing, a driving challenge, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, sailing, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby.

Trudy Lines of Australia competes in wheelchair tennis.
Trudy Lines of Australia competes in wheelchair tennis.

Invictus

Jaco Van Bilyon of the UK takes the spirit of the Invictus Games literally, with an extract from the poem tattooed on his arm.
Jaco Van Bilyon of the UK takes the spirit of the Invictus Games literally, with an extract from the poem tattooed on his arm.

The games are named for a poem about courage and forebearance by William Henley (1849–1903), which famously sustained Nelson Mandela through his years in prison. It is especially appropriate as Henley wrote it as a teenager in hospital, where he was being treated for tuberculosis of the bones, and had recently had a foot amputated.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Read the whole poem.

Two 99-year-old American WWII veterans attended the Sydney Games. Steven Melnikoff and Michael Gantich watched events with Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
Two 99-year-old American WWII veterans attended the Sydney Games. Steven Melnikoff and Michael Gantich watched events with Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.


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