Spirits were high as the Australian Invictus Games team reconnected and were presented with their uniforms at a team camp in Adelaide earlier this month.
It was special moment, as it was the first full team gathering in person since the team was announced 12 months ago, with activities cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Months in the making
Outfitting a squad competing in three team sports and six individual sports was a process that started even before the official team launch in February 2020. Team Co-Captain Corporal Sarah Petchell summed up the mood of the competitors on the first morning of the training camp: “We were so pumped to get our uniforms,” said Sarah. “The room was abuzz with excitement when they were handed out.”
Presenting the uniforms represented a final step in a mammoth task of scoping, sizing, procuring and packing over 2,000 individual items.
It was all hands on deck to pack the items at the camp. Veteran Sport Australia, ADF Adaptive Sport Program staff, UniSA Invictus Pathways Program volunteers, and even a canine companion all pitched in to get the right items picked and packed for each individual.
Importantly, uniforming also included procuring and packing special items for the family and friends of competitors that they will proudly wear at the Invictus Games the Hague, now scheduled for 2022.
A unique camp
Unique to this training camp, competitors were invited to bring along a family member or friend, in recognition of their important supporting role.
Team Co-Captain, Sergeant Shane Bramley, had his 14 year old son at the camp.
“The opportunity to share this experience with my son after so much uncertainty around the Games has been revitalising,” said Shane. “Nathan was warmly welcomed and encouraged as he joined in training, side by side with the team. He was able to take away a broader understanding of inclusion, empathy, and the healing powers of sport.”
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Invictus Games team has sought to stay connected through participating in challenges involving other Invictus Games participating nations, such as Rowing Australia’s Anzac Day Indoor Rowing Challenge, comprising more than 1,500 competitors across Australia and New Zealand.
Tasked with leading the Australian team alongside Co-Captain Shane Bramley, Sarah Petchell stressed the importance of being together in person again.
“We have been waiting for so long to get back together as a team and with all the disappointment of 2020, uniforms were received with massive enthusiasm,” said Sarah. “Quality, style and feel are great but most of all getting these uniforms united us, the team is back.”
The camp marked an important milestone in our competitor’s recovery journeys and gave an opportunity to reset as a team and refocus on training and competition goals.
Bring on The Hague in 2022!