The 2018 Invictus Games kicked off in Sydney, Australia with TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex officially opening the competition. More than 500 injured, sick and wounded soldiers from 18 nations will go head-to-head across 11 sports for glory from 20-27 October.
The final medals of the 2018 Invictus Games were presented today, with Team USA beating the Netherlands by 29 points to 17 to win gold. The UK picked up bronze after thrashing New Zealand 32-6.
All 500 competitors gathered for the closing ceremony of a captivating Invictus Games at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena, where HRH The Duchess of Sussex addressed the crowds. She said the games has become an international platform for some of the best athletics and sportsmanship you could ever witness.
Jaguar Land Rover Awards
Wheelchair rugby player George Nepata collected Jaguar’s Exceptional Performance Award after inspiring others with his determination. Edwin Vermetten won Land Rover’s Above and Beyond Award for supporting tennis team-mate Paul Guest on the court after a helicopter triggered his PTSD.
Events moved to the track and field where 60 gold medals were up for grabs across a variety of sports. Both the USA and Australia dominated by collected 17 gold medals each, while Iraq won its first gold medals of the Invictus Games.
The competition was fierce as 9 gold medals were there for the taking in the archery finals. Australia, Romania and Ukraine won two gold medals each with the UK, USA and Italy winning the remaining three.
Today saw two groups of three nations battle it out to earn a place in the semi-finals. The USA and the Netherlands finished group leaders and will now take on the UK and New Zealand respectively in tomorrow's games.
Sharp shooting was required today, as the archery competition began in earnest as the competitors battled it out in the qualifiers, round of 16 matches and semi-finals, as they targeted a medal match place across the 9 categories.
The semi-finals kicked off the action at Sydney’s Quay centre, as the UK beat the USA, and Australia smashed the French, to secure a place in the gold medal match. In the final Australia overcame the UK in a hard fought match. The USA picked up the bronze.
Wheelchair Rugby exhibition match
Rugby legends took to the pitch to try their hand at the wheelchair form of the game, as Jason Robinson’s team beat former Wallaby Rob Horne’s team 16-13 ahead of the gold medal match showpiece.
With 30 gold medals up for grabs in the Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre, Australia dominated winning 14 races, with Tom Foster and Sonya Newman claiming four golds each. The remaining gold medals were won by the USA (7), Italy (5) and the UK (4).
On the second day of competition, there was 18 medals up for grabs in the remaining powerlifting disciplines. In a competitive field Australian pair Sarah Petchell and Sarah Sliwka claimed gold for the host nation, while competitors from the UK, Jordan, Ukraine and the USA collected the remaining four gold medals.
The pool matches of the wheelchair rugby kicked-off today with six nations competing in a round-robin games to claim a place in tomorrow’s semi-finals. Teams from Australia, the UK, USA and France all qualified.
Sebastiana Lopez from USA collected the first gold medal of the powerlifting competition after bench-pressing 85kg in the mid-weight women’s discipline. Australia pair of Nicki Bradley and Alexia Vlahos picked up the silver and bronze respectively.
Team Georgia claimed the gold medal in a keenly contested match against the UK winning the match up 2-0, while Estonia overcame Poland earlier in the evening to pick up the bronze medal.
Dutch duo Jelle van der Steen and Ronald van Dort have won the mixed doubles wheelchair tennis final beating Paul Guest and Edwin Vermetten from the Unconquered team in a tie-break. Team USA’s pairing of Chance Field and Brian Williams took bronze.
Host nation Australia claimed eight of the 20 gold medals available in the indoor rowing competition, as Jordan won their first gold medal of the Invictus Games in the 1 minute sprint. Competitors from the USA, UK, Ukraine and France each won the remaining gold medals across the 4 minute endurance and 1 minute sprint races.
The Genea Netball Centre witnessed the beginning of the sitting volleyball competition as 12 teams faced off in four groups of three, looking to secure a place in the semi-final. In a keenly contested set of pool matches, it was Poland, Georgia, the UK and Estonia who came out on top.
The mixed doubles tennis competition took place at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre. Heading into the final round of pool matches the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and USA are all in a prime position to claim a semi-final spot.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER DRIVING CHALLENGE
French pair of Cedric Arci and Mickael Ranchin won the first gold medal in the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge, as they tested their driving skills and reactions in the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE.
With 22 gold medals up for grabs in road cycling, team USA claimed nine of them across the male and female time trials and endurance races. Team UK managed to collect its first golds of the Sydney games, as competitors from France, Australia and Ukraine also featured on the top step of the podium.
Sailing was new for this year, as competitors took to Sydney Harbour to battle it out for the two medals up for grabs. Australia beat Denmark and the Netherlands for gold in the Elliott Seven team event, while France’s Chahboune Cyrille held off Australians Davin Bretherton and Pete Arbuckle for the Hansa Dinghy individual gold.