Australia welcomes Invictus Games competitors to Sydney
Invictus Games Sydney 2018 will welcome more than 500 competitors, including seven UNSW Canberra alumni, at the Opening Ceremony at the Sydney Opera House this evening.
HRH The Duke of Sussex created the Invictus Games after seeing the positive impact sport could have on the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women.
“As a former soldier I wanted to do something positive for servicemen and women whose lives have been turned upside down and hopefully have a positive impact on their families too,” the Duke told Australian Story this week.
UNSW Canberra is a Premier Partner and the Official University Partner of the Invictus Games. The University’s Rector, Professor Michael Frater, says the partnership is a natural fit.
“For 50 years, we have provided a tertiary education to Australian Defence Force trainee officers,” Professor Frater says.
“Their time at UNSW Canberra and the ADF Academy marks the start of their journey with Defence, and we want to support them on their journey long after they’ve graduated.”
UNSW Canberra alumni Nicole Bradley, Jesse Costelloe, Ben Farinazzo, Wayne Hopkins, Nathan Parker, Scott Reynolds and Robert Saunders will compete in athletics, indoor rowing, powerlifting, swimming, sailing and cycling events.
Wayne Hopkins had a 21-year career with the Royal Australian Air Force and will represent Australia in cycling and archery.
He says both sports have helped him in his battle with musculoskeletal injuries, PTSD, anxiety and depression and the Invictus Games mark a major step in his recovery.
“The Invictus Games for me gives me the opportunity to feel proud about myself again,” Wayne says.
“I’ll be able to show my family that I’m back, that I’m unconquered.”
The Invictus Games Sydney 2018 partnership is part of UNSW Canberra’s commitment to returned veterans. The University has also launched the UNSW Veterans Scholarship, which will help Australian Defence Force personnel make the transition from military to civilian life.
This week UNSW Canberra, in collaboration with UNSW’s Studio DEX, UNSW Medicine and UNSW Psychology is presenting an interactive sculpture at Sculptures By The Sea in Bondi. Look Inside My Mind explores the University’s research into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). UNSW Canberra alumni, including two Invictus Games competitors, have shared their own personal experiences as part of the artwork.
UNSW Canberra wishes every participant in the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 luck and we look forward to supporting our alumni as they compete over the next week.