A roaring home crowd cheered on as Team Australia claimed victory in the wheelchair rugby tournament at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 presented by Jaguar Land Rover on Thursday night.
The gold medal match was tight at the start before Australia showed their strength, defeating Team UK 23-17.
And while the Invictus spirit is not about winning medals, the victory was extra sweet for the Australian side, having only just edged out the UK in their round-robin pool match, winning 16-15 in golden point time.
Captain of the Australian team Matt Brumby said that the win happened as a result of the camaraderie and mate-ship within the Australian team – not just in the wheelchair rugby tournament, but throughout their entire Invictus campaign.
“It’s pretty emotional, it’s been a big rollercoaster with this team since January (when we came together),” Brumby said.
“This team never gives up. And that joy that you get from it, that’s why we do it and that’s what it’s all about.
“It’s great to have one of these gold puppies around my neck but I can definitely say it’s not about the medals. I had cycling on day one and I didn’t get a medal. I didn’t get sad about it because I gave as much as I had, and that’s what this team has done since January. We’ve gotten better and better.”
While Team UK were happy to have made this far, competitor Matthew Mellon said the loss has made him hungrier for the next Invictus Games, and sent a clear warning to the Aussies.
“This has given me a goal for the future. I want to do the next Invictus Games and I want to do the next wheelchair rugby tournament,” he said.
“Hopefully we’ll come fitter and stronger next time, and we’ll take the gold off the Aussies there. Can I say that?” he said laughing.
Invictus Games Sydney 2018