News / Invictus day 3
Wednesday 27 September 2017

An action-packed day sees the UK Team medals and PBs continue to flood in

Posted by: Help For Heroes | Categories: Beneficiaries , Sports Recovery

On the Invictus Games cycling track the UK Team were taking part in the time trial event with cyclists aiming to get the fastest time in their category.

Jen Warren rode to a silver medal followed by a gold from UK Team vice-captain Steve Arnold. A UK one two followed twice over with Karl Allen-Dobson and Wayne Harrod gaining gold and silver which was repeated by Michael Westwell and Andrew White. Friends and family were in fine tune once again and the team's youngest competitor baby Holly was thoroughly pleased with having a shiny medal to chew on.

It was an early start on the golf course with competitors taking in scenic views in beautiful sunshine. The atmosphere contributed to the positive attitude within the team as both David Scott and Cornelia Oosthuizen claimed gold in the men’s and women’s events.

The second and final day of the powerlifting meant it was time for the men to shine. The challenge had been laid down by the UK Team’s women the previous evening, but the guys were more than up to it. A strong field in the middleweight division saw a personal best from Ian Taylor, benching 146kg. Ash Hall and Clive ‘Smudge’ Smith also delighted the crowd, lifting 126kg and 113kg respectively.

The heavyweights followed soon after. Scotty Darroch, team captain for the powerlifting squad, led by example in setting a personal best. Not content there, he bettered it his very next lift! Steve Cokayne showed no sign of fatigue having competed in athletics the two previous days, and joined Scotty by setting his own personal best.

The responsibility of medals fell to Scott Simon and Martin Tye. With their biggest rival right on their tails, it was like a chess match as the US and UK coaches decided on what weight their respective competitors should attempt. In the end, Scott lifted 175kg to take bronze, while Tye captured gold with a mammoth lift of 188kg.

It meant the UK Team topped the medal table in powerlifting. Scotty couldn’t contain his delight, saying: “I’m so proud of everyone who competed. Everyone who came out to support and cheer us on was incredible. The announcer has been working at powerlifting events all over the world and says he’s only seen an atmosphere like that once before.”

As the powerlifters were celebrating, things were getting tense for the UK Team’s sitting volleyballers. Needing to beat Jordan to qualify from their group and reach the knockout stages, they found themselves a set down to Jordan. This side though was made of sterner stuff.

“The team didn’t panic,” said Army veteran Daniel Kitcher. “We’d trained hard before the Games and managed to focus on what we were best at.”

This calm, focused approach saw the side come from behind to win two sets to one. With qualification in the bag, they will face Denmark in the semi-finals tomorrow.

In the indoor rowing arena nearly everyone achieved a personal best having been reminded what they were aiming for by their coach pre-row. While many medals came with that, it was far more about the personal journeys than beating the opposition.

Kelly Ganfield, who is visually impaired, said: "It's very inspirational being around the team. Being involved in Invictus is just life changing. I got fourth place I'm my row and that's good enough for me. To have to leave the Army and to now be representing my country again is so good."

Kelly's guide Mikael Huggins, who was also her running partner in athletics meet, said: "It's been an absolute pleasure to be Kelly's guide. It's been the most exciting but also life changing experience. She's a grafter. The work that goes into this is very difficult but whatever she's given to do she does it. She's done us all proud. She said it's changed her life and if I can help towards that everyone's a winner."

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