NATO hosts Belgian and Dutch Invictus teams
On 19 January 2023, on the sidelines of the NATO Chiefs of Defence meeting, NATO hosted members of the Belgian and Dutch Invictus teams for a friendly game of sitting volleyball. This was part of an initiative to help build awareness for the Invictus Games Foundation, which promotes the use of sports to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.
The Dutch and Belgian Invictus team members were invited to NATO HQ to share their stories, struggles and hopes. Mr Edwin de Wolf, manager of the Dutch team but also veteran and multiple medallist, took the opportunity to explain the purpose, aim but above all, the spirit behind the Invictus Games to the Spouses of the NATO Chiefs of Defence and NATO Military Representatives.
As part of the programme, the Spouses interacted with the Invictus players and discussed the toll and challenges that arise from the recovery process. “Military spouses, families and friends are essential members of the Invictus family. While the Foundation helps service members recover and rehabilitate after a serious injure, families are also crucial parts of the process. Their unconditional love and support helps veterans come to terms with what has happened and ultimately, helps them overcome it”, emphasised Mr de Wolf.
Founded in 2014 by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, this annual inter-service adaptive sports competition showcases the resilient spirit of today’s wounded, ill and injured service members and it personifies what these tenacious men and women can achieve post injury. The Invictus Games Foundation promotes the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding of the physical and the mental toll of the military profession. Having overcome severe injuries and medical conditions, the participating service members serve as role models for other survivors worldwide.
After a short warm-up session, both teams hit the court to partake in a friendly game of sitting volleyball and display their dexterity, agility and competitive spirit. They were joined by the NATO volleyball team. The Deputy Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant General Lance Landrum also stopped by to greet the team members. Meeting the veterans, he commended them “for their drive to overcome, recover and push through obstacles, this sends a powerful message: Serious injury or illness does not interrupt the pursuit of a meaningful and productive life”.
The next Invictus Games will be held from 9 to 16 September 2023, in Dusseldorf, Germany. The city, supported by the German Armed Forces, will welcome around 500 competitors from more than 20 nations as well as around 1,000 family members and friends to compete in ten disciplines.
For more information, about the Invictus Games Foundation, visit their website: www.invictusgamesfoundation.org