Kiwis win 11 medals at Invictus Games

The NZDF medal winners at the Invictus Games. Photo / NZ Defence Force
The NZDF medal winners at the Invictus Games. Photo / NZ Defence Force

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) team is heading home with a record haul of 11 medals at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

The NZDF team of 24 athletes picked up medals in five different adaptive sports over the eight days of competition attended by more than 550 competitors from 17 allied nations.

NZDF Invictus team captain Jason Pore said the Games for the team had been about doing the best each individual could do for themselves and their families.

"It has not been about the medals for the team - making the finals has been an added bonus to the success of their individual achievements at the Games, and making it on to the podium has added to their personal successes," Pore said.

"The medals won have been for the team, their families and for New Zealand."

The Invictus Games are the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and ill active duty and veteran servicemen and women.

The team's vice-captain, Flight Lieutenant Jules Gilligan, said it was hard to describe how proud she was of the team.

"Everyone has given their all, regardless of the huge challenges they face. Each person will be changed from this experience," Flight Lieutenant Gilligan said.

"This team's members are some of the strongest and most determined people I have ever met. They have such heart. They are the epitome of what the word 'team' means to me.

"This is why I rejoined the Defence Force and it is a true privilege to watch their victories."

Adaptive sport allows those who have been wounded, injured or ill as part of their service to our country to look forward and focus on the possibilities and the future.

Invictus Games Toronto 2017 chief executive Michael Burns said it had meant a lot to have the New Zealand team at the Games.

"We have always had a great relationship with New Zealand and served with them shoulder to shoulder in many wars and peacekeeping missions," Burns said.

"We were honoured to welcome all of their competitors and their families and friends and hope that their time in Toronto will further their healing and recovery."

New Zealand High Commissioner to Canada Daniel Mellsop has been with the team this week and said he had been extremely honoured to be able to support the Kiwis.

"The stories of how training for these Invictus Games has supported their recovery is inspirational," he said. "The team and their vocal band of supporters are doing a great job raising New Zealand's profile in North America's fourth-largest city. It makes me proud to see the black uniforms and hear the Kiwi chants occupying downtown Toronto.

"The powerful Invictus haka has been very popular with locals and the other teams. It makes New Zealand stand out and shows the world there is something special about our nation and our people."

The NZDF team arrive back in New Zealand tomorrow morning.

The NZDF team was sponsored by Auckland RSA, Christchurch Memorial RSA, Fulton Hogan, BLK and Offlimits Trust.

NZDF medal tally:
GOLD
Vanessa Bawden-Pere, Women's Midweight Powerlifting.
Major Craig Wilson, Men's IR3 4min Indoor Row
Major Craig Wilson, Men's IR3 1min Indoor Row

SILVER
PO Aaron Gibbs & Glenn Barnes, Open Doubles Wheelchair Tennis.
Allister Baker, Men's IR5 1min Indoor Row
LT Dan Crawford, Men's IR6 4min Indoor Row
Glenn Barnes, Men's IR2 1min Indoor Row

BRONZE
LT Dan Crawford, Men's IT7 400m.
LT Dan Crawford, Men's IT7 1500m.
LT Dan Crawford, Men's IR6 1min Indoor Row
PO Ihaka Matairangi, Nicki Fairbairn & WO2 Koro Hati, Team Novice Recurve Archery

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