The first three international teams have arrived at Sydney International Airport to much enthusiasm and fanfare.
Team Jordan was the first to arrive late on Monday, followed by Denmark and the large United Kingdom contingent on Wednesday.
Despite the long haul flights, competitors were bright and bubbly, especially when greeted by Invictus Games Sydney 2018 mascot ‘Cobber’, the NSW Police Band and Games officials and volunteers.
His Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Zaidand, Jordan’s Head of Delegation, said the Jordanian Team was overwhelmed and overjoyed to be in Sydney.
“Our Team has been training and training, for literally for 10 or 11 months. They’re super-excited to be here in Sydney to participate in the Invictus Games,” the Prince said.
“At the first Games we took part in, at Orlando, we got only one medal. Last year in Toronto we got six. This year we hope to get more than that. That’s the challenge. But everyone’s in great spirits and we’re happy to be here.”
The competitors bring with them to Invictus Games Sydney 2018 the powerful message that recovery is possible through the power of sport.
It is about winning “the medal of life”, said first time Invictus Games competitor, Denmark’s Jakob Andersen. “I will be able to inspire and support others after me,” he said.
Touchdown in Sydney from Invictus Games Sydney 2018 on Vimeo.
For the UK’s Matthew Tate, the Invictus Games is the pinnacle of his recovery. It has taken him from “being in a wheelchair, onto crutches and now a walking stick and now competing in something that I’m really passionate about – it’s more about what you can do than what you can’t do.”
UK team vice-captain Michelle Turner is competing at her second Invictus Games after a “rollercoaster” experience in Toronto, when she ended up in hospital and missed her events. Her goal for the Sydney Games is to get into the pool and to have her seven-year-old daughter in the stands cheering her on.
“[After Toronto] I came back and I thought, ‘do I go again or do I give up?’ Well, I never give up.”
She said she would “tick that vice captain box” and use her experience to help new Team members.
“We are just normal people and our lives just didn’t go to plan,” said Turner. “We thought we were in the military for life. Invictus Games teaches you that life goes on but in a different way.
“It has changed my life and my family’s lives. You don’t realise the effect your injuries or illness can have on your families as well – they are our team behind the team. They see us at our lowest – so to bring my seven-year-old out here and to experience all these incredible people from all across the world it means everything.”
Thursday is a very busy day of arrivals in Sydney with 13 nations arriving and Georgia will be the last team in on Friday evening, ahead of the start of competition and the Opening Ceremony on Saturday.
Invictus Games Sydney 2018