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Invictus Games selection honour for veteran Dave

Posted onPosted on 29th Oct

Royal Signals veteran Dave Wilkinson has been selected for Team UK at the 2020 Invictus Games.
He will represent his country at sitting volleyball and wheelchair rugby at the Hague in May.

Dave, of Mansfield Woodhouse, an amputee, said he turned his disappointment at missing out on selection for Team UK at the 2018 games in Sydney into a positive motivation.

“It did knock me a bit, but I focused on all the feedback from my coach and support network,” he said.

“I was determined to use my time productively and improve my fitness levels in readiness for 2020.”

The Invictus programme has enabled Dave to build his confidence and support those in a similar situation. He hopes that his willingness to help others with disabilities, whether physical or mental, has the potential to develop into a future career as a sports coach, working with young people.

“I’m a firm believer that sport has the power to transform lives and prove to children and young adults that they can achieve their life goals, regardless of their disability,” he said.

“As an amputee I speak to various people, including individuals with limitations, to see how I can improve as a person, but also to help that person improve too.

“I would like to show others, regardless of their disability, whether it is mental or physical, that there is something out there to compete in and do well. You can achieve anything in life.”

More than 350 people trialled in nine sports for places in the 65-strong team, with 89% of them having never competed before.

The team ­— officially launched by Prince Harry in London — is made up of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) military personnel and veterans.

The rigorous selection process was based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training.

The team will compete in nine sports — athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.

They will continue to train from now until May in various locations across the country as part of Help for Heroes’ extensive Sports Recovery programme and role to train and develop the team.

Julian North, recovery manager east, said: “The 65 men and women selected to represent Team UK will not only gain a personal recovery benefit from taking part in the Games but they will hopefully inspire others suffering with life-changing injuries or illnesses that anything is possible.

“Our competitors are proudly serving their country again and showing that they will not let their injury or illness define them. We are especially proud of the fact that 89% of Team UK have never competed in the Invictus Games before. The legacy of the Games is strong, and they are providing a gateway for more wounded veterans and service personnel to benefit from the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery programme.”

Invictus UK is delivered by a partnership comprising Help for Heroes, The Ministry of Defence, and The Royal British Legion.

To get support from Help for Heroes visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support

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