When you think it can’t get any better, it does!
A sensational day of competition for Team UK at the Invictus Games saw so many personal triumphs in Swimming, Powerlifting and Wheelchair Rugby.
The day started with Powerlifting taking place in Sydney’s Genea Netball Centre. Men’s and women’s competitions gave the team a chance to support each other in their successes. While competitors lift as individuals, powerlifting is truly a team sport of control, strength and strategy.
In all 11 personal bests were achieved, with Jaco van Biljon and Jonny ‘Mitch’ Mitchell both achieving lifts 10kg bigger than previous. For Jonny, his lift secured a welcome bronze medal.
Despite a lot of nerves the team put on a great show. Along with Jonny’s bronze, Lee Matthews and Abbie Kasparis also secured third place, and Martin Tye, with a lift of 206kg in the heavyweight class, won gold.
Tye’s wife Bex said: “That was amazing. Words cannot describe how proud we are of Tye. He’s been training so hard for today and for him to pull it out of the bag so spectacularly is everything.”
The Wheelchair Rugby team were hard at work in the Quaycentre where they battled through to win four out of five pool matches.
Former England international Jason Robinson was there to support and spectate, which spurred the team on to secure a place in the semi-final against the US tomorrow.
Swimming finals dominated the evening programme in Sydney’s Olympic Park with a great show of sportsmanship from all the nations taking part.
Invictus is definitely not just about winning, but today Team UK swimmers secured a whole lot of medals in the water.
Rachel Williamson, who as a teen nearly made it to the Commonwealth Games but since a life-changing injury almost gave up on sport altogether, claimed three silver and one bronze medal in her four individual races.On winning her third silver she said: “Unbelievable. I’ve surpassed my goal to finish the race. I’ve done that. I’ve cried. I’ve medalled. Representing Team UK is a dream come true. I’m off to hug my parents!”
Rachel went on to put up a good fight in the relay with teammates Jen Yarwood, Poppy Pawsey and Michelle Turner, who achieved her aim of getting in the water after having to pull out of swimming in Toronto last year.
The dynamic duo of Michael Goody and Alex Dewar took two golds, two silvers and three bronzes between them over four races, then joined forces again with their teammates Richie Gamble and Dave Watts to secure a silver in the relay. Meanwhile, Gamble also claimed a bronze in the 50m backstroke in his category.
Spencer Bull gave an inspiring performance cheered on by the phenomenal Team UK supporters in Sydney, to finish comfortably in the middle of the pack.
Mark Ormrod wrapped up his evening with two golds and a silver. He missed out on the top spot in Toronto 2017 and was determined to better his own achievements this time round. One of his gold’s was nothing but extraordinary, which shows the type of character Mark is. The race was looking likely to be cancelled, with only one entrant, so Mark, despite having never tried breaststroke before, jumped in to make up the numbers. With just three minutes of practice in the warm up pool, Mark took to the blocks and won gold, coming in less than half a second ahead of his Australian opponent.
On the whole, a day not to be forgotten, with many of those competing today in more than one sport, letting their commitment and determination to their own personal achievements drive them on.
Team UK is delivered through a partnership of Help for Heroes, the MOD and The Royal British Legion.