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Monday 09 May 2016

Invictus Games Orlando 2016: 8 May Highlights

Posted by: Help For Heroes | Categories: General

With the opening ceremony fast approching, our UK Team took to the field in their final preliminary rounds of the Invictus Games!


© Roger Keller | Help for Heroes

UK team archers will go into Monday’s final with the knowledge that they are guaranteed four medals and have a chance of four more after a phenomenal display of skill at Sunday’s qualifiers and semi-finals.

In the open recurve category LCpl Angelito Barbierato will face Chris Macfadyen in an all UK gold medal match. The pair will then join Carl Tarry to form a trio for the team event gold medal match.

Chris Macfadyen, archery team captain, commented: “I’m absolutely on cloud nine. I’m on top of the world. I made it into the individual gold medal match and to make it into the team medal match too is a wicked way to finish the afternoon. I couldn’t be any prouder of the team. It’s just brilliant."

“The Invictus Games is all about brotherhood. We win as a team and lose as a team, and regardless of which it is, all the guys are around the see it and support.”

In the novice recurve class Sgt Gareth Paterson will shoot for gold while Martin Clapton will go for a bronze medal. Again, the pair will form a trio with Matthew Elliot to go for team gold.

Sgt Gareth Paterson, team captain of static sports, said: “I’m ecstatic, emotional and raring to go. I really am over the moon. My wife is a world-class sprint kayaker; she’s not here because she’s competing at the world championships. She already has a silver medal on the mantelpiece. This is me trying to reclaim my masculinity back! There’ll be another medal on the mantelpiece next week.”

In the compound category, the archers vying for team bronze are Jon Flint, Daniel Grobler and Andy Phillips.

Jon Flint said: “I’ve achieved more than I thought I would ever get anywhere near. I won’t set the world on fire with medals but what I have achieved has made me so happy.”

Even those who did not qualify were in high spirits, supporting their team mates and proud to have had the chance to compete in archery at the Invictus Games.


© Roger Keller | Help for Heroes

Track and field athletes were vying for their place in the Athletics final when they took to the stadium on Sunday morning in the Florida heat. With a large crowd in the stands waving the flags of their nation, the day started with the men’s and women’s 100m sprints, with impressive performances coming from UK athletes Francis Nduka, James McGill and Lucinda Allaway. In a show of the typical military banter, Marine Sam Stocks, who has a kidney condition called IGA Nephropathy, made sure to tap teammate Luke Wigman on the shoulder as he passed him on the home straight of the 1500metres. They were joined in qualifying by James Tattingham, a former Captain in the Army.

UK team men and women fared extremely well in the throwing events; discus and shotput. Petty Officer Sean Gaffney, a serving member in the Royal Navy, led the way in discus and Tom Stimpson, a former Sergeant in the Royal Air Force, recorded three personal bests in a row in the shotput – a good gift for the birthday boy! Strong performances in the field events were also put in by Royal Marine Fergus Hurst and birthday girl Laura Knowles, a former Army Musician.

© Roger Keller | Help for Heroes

Rob Cromey-Hawke, Captain of dynamic sports (Athletics, Swimming, Wheelchair Tennis and Cycling), competed in the 200metre wheelchair race. Speaking afterwards, he said: “Today at the Athletics was amazing. The stadium is fantastic and to have our family and friends arrive in time to see us perform was extra special. The spirit amongst all of the athletes is brilliant and going around the track, you could hear everyone cheering you on and that is an amazing feeling. It gives you an extra burst. Taking part in the Invictus Games brings you back into the military family with its competitive spirit, camaraderie and banter. London 2014 set the bar high but it is being raised in Orlando.”


© Roger Keller | Help for Heroes

The UK’s heavyweight powerlifters took to the floor to compete in the qualification rounds ahead of Monday’s finals.

Three lifts each decided their fate. The women went first, with a show of physical and mental strength. Efforts paid off with three ladies finishing in the final eight; Nerys Pearce, Kelly Layden-Farrer and Laura Knowles.

Laura Knowles, who was celebrating her 25th birthday, said: “Powerlifting is something I really enjoy. I’ve only been doing it for a few months but I think strength training is becoming more accepted among women and the guys really support us. They’re with us through the highs and lows. I find powerlifting takes your mind away from everything. My team is my biggest motivation to succeed.”

In the men’s heavyweights, the UK team will make up half of the final eight. The weights being lifted are far bigger than those at the previous Invictus Games, with the men really challenging each other.


© Roger Keller | Help for Heroes

The day culminated in a spectacular opening ceremony, with performances from Laura Wright; the Invictus Choir, led by Gareth Malone; the US Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, James Blunt; and inspirational words from Prince Harry; the First Lady Michelle Obama; and Morgan Freeman who introduced live accounts of recovery journeys from wounded comrades. Stories highlighted that wounds for many are not only physical, but can be hidden in the mind.

A final performance of the Invictus song and accompanying fireworks declared the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando officially open.