Invictus Games beckon

This article has photo gallery Published on Michaela Gilewicz (author), LSIS Jayson Tufrey (photographer)

Location(s): Narrabeen

Topic(s): Invictus Games, Adaptive Sports

Invictus Games athletes Petty Officers Ian McCracken (left) and Latisha Baker (right) with Commander Australian Fleet - Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and bar after a �celebrity� wheel chair rugby match as part of the Invictus Games training camp at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, NSW.  (photo: Jayson Tufrey)
Invictus Games athletes Petty Officers Ian McCracken (left) and Latisha Baker (right) with Commander Australian Fleet - Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and bar after a �celebrity� wheel chair rugby match as part of the Invictus Games training camp at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, NSW.
Two sailors are representing Navy in the 43-member Australian Invictus Team which recently met for the final hit-out before deploying to Toronto, Canada to take on the rest of the world next month.
 
Petty Officer Maritime Logistics-Supply Chain Ian McCracken, of HMAS Stirling, and Petty Officer Medical Latisha Baker, of HMAS Creswell, won their spots in the team from among the more than 70 who initially applied.
 
Members of the Australian Invictus team met at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation in Narrabeen, north of Sydney, to conduct their final training camp in late July before departing for the Games in Toronto.
 
The week also marked the first time the athletes had come together as a team after being selected from the training squad in June.
 
Stirling-based sailor and Aussie Invictus wheelchair rugby coach Warrant Officer Communication Information Systems Andrew Bertoncin said watching the athletes develop their skills had been a highlight.
 
“In my experience, I have learnt about how recovery through sport can assist almost anyone,” Warrant Officer Bertoncin said.
 
“Sport can be used to not only provide a path for recovery but to also help them re-engage.”
 
During the seven-day training camp, athletes were exposed to a training environment to simulate the experience of the Games.
 
Those who weren’t training attended open sessions to cheer on their mates.
 
Petty Officer Baker said the games were a way to show people how they could keep going, regardless of how they may have been injured.
 
“I was training for my first triathlon when I was involved in a head-on collision while riding a motor bike, which resulted in nine months of surgeries and rehabilitation,” she said.
 
“Invictus gave me the motivation to get back into sport.
 
“I hadn’t done any type of fitness since the accident, so I got involved to get back into a routine.”
 
The Invictus Games were established in 2014 by His Royal Highness Prince Harry to inspire the wounded, injured and ill to get involved in sport to aid their recovery.
 
He chose the word Invictus because it means “unconquered” in Latin and that is the attitude he wished to instil among the competitors.
 
That spirit shines through in Australia’s athletes who have shown commitment and dedication to better themselves and each other throughout their six-month training process in the lead-up to the Games.
 
The Invictus Games 2017 will take place from 23-30 September.