Australia will field a team of 72 athletes, the nation’s largest ever contingent, at the Invictus Games to be held in Sydney in October.
Defence Minister Marise Payne said she was proud of each and every member of the Australian Invictus team.
The Games will be held from 20-27 October. This is an international competition for current and former military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service.
“Training for events like the Invictus Games gives the athletes the opportunity to overcome their physical and mental hardships and focus on what they can achieve post-injury, reflecting their inherent fighting spirit,” Minister Payne said at the launch on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.
“The Games are an opportunity to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who defend our freedoms and values.
“It is also a chance to show our respect for the courage and determination our Australian team members have shown to overcome adversity and compete on the world stage. Every Australian will be cheering on our team to succeed on home soil this October.”
During the games, Sydney will host 500 athletes from 18 nations competing in individual and team sports, including archery, athletics, indoor rowing, the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge, powerlifting, road cycling, sailing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
Defence Force chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said ADF members were terrific ambassadors for Australia on operations and in exercises around the world, and so too were those participating in the Invictus Games.
“I just want to tell you how proud we are of you, how proud we are of the families, and the support they are providing for you,” he said.
“You have worked hard to get here to this day. You have deserved it. Savour the moment but work over the next 120 days and do us proud.”
Defence Personnel Minister Darren Chester said what an extraordinary honour had been bestowed on those representing Australia.
“I just encourage you to cherish every moment of the experience. It doesn’t come about that often to do what you are going to do in 120 days time,” he said.
“You are going to be with your brothers and sisters from nations around the world. You are going to have the chance to test yourself again. I hope you are going to kick some butt on the way through as well.”
Mr Chester said the Invictus games used the power of sport to motivate recovery and generate a wider understanding of the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve their country.
“These games also recognise the significant contribution that family and friends make in supporting our veterans,” he said.
“We should never forget the sacrifice that has been made for us by our serving men and women.”