Prince Harry, patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, unveiled the team at Buckingham Palace this morning. He met the team and posed for the first official team photograph.
More than 180 WIS personnel and veterans tried out for one of the 110 places available on the UK team. The selection process was based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training.
Getting involved in sport helps with self-confidence and feeling psychologically empowered. Significant physical and mental health benefits can be translated outside of sport and into everyday life.
The UK delegation to the Invictus Games 2016 is being delivered by a partnership comprising the Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes, and the Royal British Legion.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Everyone selected for the UK team can be proud of what they have achieved as they prepare for success in Orlando. The MOD is once again backing this superb event and I look forward to being there to see our personnel and veterans demonstrate their fighting spirit.”
The team will compete in 10 sports: athletics, archery wheelchair basketball, road cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming, sitting volleyball, and a new sport for 2016, wheelchair tennis.
The 2016 UK team captain has been named as former Army Captain David Wiseman. He was shot by the enemy when commanding a small British Infantry team embedded within the Afghan National Army in Nad-e Ali district, in Helmand province in 2009.
A bullet entered his shoulder and travelled the length of his torso and hit his ribs. The bullet came to rest in his right lung, where it resides to this day. Capt Wiseman was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012, a condition which is now manageable but still a part of his day-to-day life.
He said: “I have a huge emotional attachment to the Invictus Games and could not be prouder to have been selected to Captain the UK Team at Orlando 2016. The reason for my pride?
“I think the Invictus Games is a shining example of what this community can achieve, a group of individuals from around the world coming together in order to show everyone that beyond injury, they can achieve the extraordinary.”
The team launch also marked the official handover of the Invictus Games flag from Prince Harry to US team captain, Will Reynolds, signifying the handover from London to Orlando.
Serving members of the team:
- LCpl Angelito Barbierato
- Cpl Tom Boney
- LCpl Darren Hale
- Spr Ashley Hall
- WO1 Steven Howson
- Cpl Terence Morgan
- Maj Sally Orange
- Sgt Gareth Paterson
- LCpl Netra Rana
- Cpl Luke Reeson
- Cpl Ian Taylor
- LCpl Craig Winspear
The Invictus games have begun with a glittering ceremony in the US.
Four days of international competition have commenced following the opening event at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Prince Harry was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, followed by actor Morgan freeman and former President George W Bush.
The event was opened with a fanfare by the US Army Herald Trumpets, followed by a flyover by four F-18 Hornet jets.
There was also the much-anticipated performance by Gareth Malone’s Invictus Choir. They performed Flesh and Blood, which was composed for the ceremony, accompanied by 20 US Servicemen and women.
Army veteran James Blunt was the headline act - he performed six songs while footage he filmed on deployment was screened behind him.
The grand finale brought the emotional evening to an end. A 150-strong choir was unveiled. They sang the Invictus Anthem, written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, with fireworks as a backdrop to mark the end of the performance.
Welcome home Invictus Games stars
The Army members of the U.K. Invictus Games team ended the 4 day long competition in Orlando, Florida, with 12 medals between them, including 7 golds, among the total UK 131 tally. Corporal Ian Taylor, REME, smashed his personal best by an astonishing 3 seconds to take gold in the men's 50m breaststroke, while Lance Corporal Angelito Barbierato and Sergeant Gareth Paterson each took home 2 gold medals in the archery.
“Putting on my Invictus kit was the proudest part of the process,” said Barbierato, a vehicle mechanic with the KRH LAD at Tidworth. “It was like an footballer pulling on his England shirt. The Invictus Games are really important for people serving with injuries because the Army has a natural physical bias, so to overcome an injury is a phenomenal feeling.”
The Games ended with a spectacular ceremony early on Saturday morning in the U.K., with a rousing speech from HRH Prince Harry: “ The competition has been fierce with performances of the highest international standard across a number of events,” said Prince Harry. “But what inspired me was the courage to make it to the starting line, to take to the field or to dive into that pool, motivated by the goal of giving your all – medal or no medal. You showed your families, your friends and yourselves, just how far you’ve come, regardless of the result.”