After a day’s practice on Tuesday, the UK Team’s archers were underway. The sweltering heat provided a significant challenge for the competitors, with the flight of the arrows affected by the scorching temperatures. But with two further days of competition still to go, hopes remain high amongst the team.
A packed final day of cycling brought with it the criterium, a circuit road race. The last race saw six UK Team cyclists take to the streets. It was all about teamwork, ensuring other teams did not push their riders out of position and holding a place once gained. Andrew White came over the finish line first to claim the gold medal thanks to team partner Steve Sebburn, who couldn't have been prouder to see Andrew on the podium. UK rider Nathan Jones followed up with the silver.
Steve said: “I told Andy I'd stick on his tail on the last corner and I did. He's such a good lad, it's so good to see him win. I don't care where I placed, it was all about taking one for the team.”
Wednesday also saw the eagerly awaited wheelchair rugby event get underway. The UK Team were eager to improve on their bronze medal in last year’s Games in Orlando and topped their group in emphatic fashion. They followed up their 19-14 victory against the USA – last year’s gold medallists – with a resounding victory against Italy.
Having already secured qualification from their group after a late withdrawal from France, coach Paul ‘Jenks’ Jenkins’ side showed no sign of complacency as they defeated a specially selected Ontario team, which included former Paralympians. “Three games, three wins. Can’t ask for much more than that,” beamed Jenks.
The team spirit and camaraderie between all the nations competing was evident, with handshakes and well-wishing throughout the day. With the semis and final taking place on Thursday, and Australia the only thing standing between the UK Team and a shot at the gold medal, tomorrow promises to be a tremendous day on the court.
The only sport of the evening saw the UK Team sitting volleyballers competing in the knockout stages, with all three medals up for grabs.
The team clearly wanted to do it the hard way again after coming from a set down to Jordan the previous day to qualify from their group. History repeated itself in their semi-final against Denmark, as an engrossing game packed with epic rallies brought the packed crowd to its feet. The UK Team held their nerve to win 26-28, 25-20, 15-8. “Of all the volleyball games I’ve seen, that’s one of the best ever!” cheered a supporter.
The final saw them face off against the much-fancied Georgian team. The quality of play on show continued to be immense from both sides. Despite a valiant effort, Georgia were too strong on the night, winning 25-15, 25-17.
Players from each country embraced as the final ended, rightly proud of their efforts and for providing a wonderful evening of sport.
For Paul Harding, competing in his first Invictus Games, the silver medal had extra significance. “My brother passed away two weeks ago before the Games. He always encouraged me so this is for him. It’s very emotional winning this medal, but it’s better than I could’ve imagined.”Register your interest for Invictus Games 2018