Coach Patrick Pradel, left, and team member Ben Peckham during the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. Ben will compete again in The Hague

Training in Selwyn

by Mike Isle

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) team to compete at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 will hold its first training camp at Burnham Military Camp this weekend.

It will be the first time the 22-strong travelling team plus four reserves, who live in New Zealand and Australia, have assembled since being named for the adaptive sports event.

The training weekend will include a visit to Rolleston College, which offers students the chance to study adaptive sports. The team will present the school with an Invictus flag signed by the NZDF team that competed at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

The Invictus Games were created by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate understanding and respect for wounded, injured or ill current and former servicemen and women.

Deputy Chief of Army Brigadier Evan Williams said those who had been to previous Games described the experience as life-changing for them and their families.

“Invictus delivers on so many levels, and our people are the better for it, through the opportunity to participate and achieve in front of their teammates, friends and families,” he said.

Army Warrant Officer Class 2 Koro Hati, who competed in Sydney, said team members had shared their experiences and ongoing physical and mental challenges with the students during a visit to the school last year.

“They were really interested in what we had to say. It shows them that it’s not just able-bodied people that can enjoy sport. Anybody can,” Hati said.

“They also learned that the most impaired person is the most able person when you’re in a chair.”