Spotlight: The Invictus Games
Barrack Obama, the Queen of England, James Bond. What do they all have in common? They’re all major backers of the Invictus Games, the 2017 version of which will begin in a little over 2 weeks in Toronto, Canada. The event, which began in 2014 has quickly become a key feature of the ParaSports calendar. So here’s everything you need to know about the Invictus Games.
What are the Invictus Games?
The Invictus Games are a four day sports event for servicemen and women who have suffered injuries during combat. There are 12 sports on the programme with 15 countries competing.
How did they begin?
Whilst attending the US Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013. Prince Harry- himself a former serviceman – was inspired to stage a similar event in his native England. Subsequently the Invictus Games were staged between September 10-14, largely using the infrastructure of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
Which countries compete in the Invictus Games?
Countries are invited to compete in the Invictus Games and tend to be those who have fought alongside the United Kingdom in recent military campaigns. There were 14 countries present at the first Games in 2014 including the U.S.A, France, Germany, Demark, Australia and New Zealand. For the 2017 iteration of the event there will be 15 countries in total at the event.
Which sports are on show at the Invictus Games?
The competition programme of the Invictus Games features sports well known from the Paralympic Games and include Archery, Golf, Athletics (aka track & field), Swimming, Powerlifting, Cycling (road), Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby and Wheelchair Tennis. Athletes compete in classifications similar to those of the Paralympic system.
However, unique to the Invictus Games are the Driving Competition, where two participants from each nation will compete on a course designed for nations to work as a team while taking the vehicles through precision gates. Also, Indoor rowing is a part of the programme which takes place on an indoor machine simulator mimicking the actions of watercraft rowing.
How often does it take place?
It is planned to be an annual event although Orlando 2015 became 2016 when the organisers needed more time than planned to prepare the event. Toronto will host the event in 2017 with Sydney, Australia being the host in 2018.
Does it rival the Paralympic Games?
No, the Invictus Games sees itself as complimentary to the Paralympic Games and other ParaSports events. In fact 11 competitors from five nations who were at the 2014 or 2016 Invictus Games competed at the 2016 Rio Paralmypics.
Where can you find out more about the Invictus Games?
Twitter: @weareinvictus @invictustoronto