Have you heard of the “Invictus Games”? The word ‘invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. It embodies the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and ill serving and former serving military personnel and personifies what these tenacious men and women can achieve post injury.
The Invictus Games is an international, adaptive multi-sports competition for serving and former military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service.
After twice being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Invictus Games took place in The Hague, Netherlands from 16th to the 22nd April 2022.
Thirty-two Australians participated in the Games, including the following team members from NSW:
- Andrew Tebbit from Port Macquarie: Andrew joined the Australian Army in 2000 as a Combat Engineer, and was deployed in 2002 and 2006 to East Timor. Andrew spent two years providing Explosive Ordnance disposal support to the Tactical Assault Group, and was medically discharged in 2015. Andrew competed in archery and wheelchair rugby.
- Andrew Wilkinson from Glenfield: Andrew joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2003 as an Aviation Technician. During his service he served at No. 817 Squadron and No. 808 Squadron, was posted to HMA Ships Manoora, Kanimbla and Success. He was deployed to Timor-Leste, Fiji and Ashmore Reef/Christmas Island. Andrew competed in athletics, cycling, indoor rowing and swimming.
- Chris O’Brien from Canberra joined the Australian Army in 2002 and became an Artillery Officer in December 2005. He served 13 years in the full-time Army, including two deployments to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010. Chris competed in wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and swimming.
- Joel Vanderzwan from the Sutherland Shire joined the Royal Australian Navy in March 2007 and served until December 2012. Joel was an Able Seaman Marine Technician, and a career highlight was RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise) 2010 on HMAS Kanimbla. Joel competed in archery, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing and wheelchair rugby.
- Matt Model from Bonny Hills joined the Australian Army as a Rifleman in 2004 and was deployed overseas on peacekeeping operations in 2006 and 2007. Matt was injured in Timor-Leste in 2007 and medically discharged in 2008. Matt competed in athletics, powerlifting and indoor rowing.
- Flight Sergeant Nathan King from Penrith joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1996 and is currently serving in No. 37 Squadron. Nathan has spent the majority of his career supporting the C-130 Hercules aircraft and was deployed twice to the Middle East. Nathan competed in athletics, indoor rowing, swimming and sitting volleyball.
- Peter Miller from Sydney joined the Australian Army (Infantry) and served from 2010 to 2014. Peter competed in athletics, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing and sitting volleyball.
- Peter William Brown joined the Australian Army in November 2011 and was medically discharged in February 2020. Peter joined as a Parachute Rigger but was transferred to administration due to injury. Peter competed in athletics, powerlifting, indoor rowing, swimming.
- Scott Reynolds from Manly joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1998 as a Maritime Warfare Officer. In this role he had operational service in Iraq in 2003 and border protection operations as well as service on multiple ships. Scott later qualified as a Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer, and completed postings to a clearance diving team, mine hunters and instructional roles. Scott competed in athletics, cycling, indoor rowing, swimming and wheelchair rugby.
- Stephen Slack from Queanbeyan joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1994 as an Officer’s Steward, and his operational deployments included Iraq, Afghanistan, Southern Ocean and Christmas Island. Stephen competed in archery and indoor rowing.
At the time of writing, the medal tally is being undertaken, so we await the official results.
The closing ceremony, which took place on the 22nd April, marked the end of the Games. Chief of Joint Capabilities, Lieutenant General John Frewen, DSC, AM, represented the Australian Defence Force at the event.
“Our competitors joined others from 20 nations, all of who came together to demonstrate the true meaning of the Invictus Games spirit and proved to the world that anything is possible,” Lieutenant General Frewen said.
“Our competitors have an untiring drive to overcome adversity. The tenacity, strength and sportsmanship of our Australian competitors is commendable.”
The location of the Invictus Games 2025 has been awarded to Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.