By: Katie Hemming
Toronto has offered to host this year’s Invictus Games that are being held on September 23rd to the 30th, a competition where all competitors identify with being disabled. Both veterans and currently active members will participate. Adaptive sports varying from wheelchair rugby and basketball, track and field sports and the new addition to this year’s event, golf amongst others will be apart of the games. Some of the sporting events will feature mixed gendered athletes as well as able-bodied and physically disabled people participating together.
Prince Harry is the founder of the Invictus Games, which started in 2014 in London England. He was inspired to create the event after attending the US-based Warrior Games for the wounded, ill and injured military personnel and veterans. Harry aimed to make an international version of the games and the Invictus Games were thus born. The first Invictus Games had over 400 competitors from 13 nations. When the second one was held in Orlando Florida in 2016 it saw more than 500 competitors from 14 nations, the games are growing!
What is an adaptive sport? It is modified sports to fit those who have physical disabilities. The rules, regulations, and equipment that are used changed somewhat to align with those who are affected by disabilities. With competitive teams, broad groups help classify people with certain disabilities to allow the players to compete against others at the same skill level. Players who are in the rehabilitation program often use adaptive sports as a way to cope with their disabilities and help overcome their personal obstacles.
Why are these games so special and important? For the women and men who compete in these games, they have to accept apart of themselves that have been compromised by the sacrifices they have made for their country, friends, and families. These athletes continue on despite their obstacles and that is what the Invictus Games are all about. With the help of these sports participates feel like they are a part of something special, and they are. They create a sense of community and belonging with each other, show more self-worth and independence. Despite the community building aspects of the games do not be fooled. The Invictus Games displays stellar athletes from a variety of backgrounds.
Canadians are proud to be hosting the 2017 Invictus Games, as is the Disability Channel. We will be covering some major events at the games this year. Stay connected to us on all of our social media channels and on our YouTube page. We will be posting our Invictus Game coverage here.