Invictus Games: Nigeria gets Africa’s first entry at Prince Harry’s games for wounded veterans
All three countries will make their debut in the sports competition this year.
Team Nigeria captain Corporal Effiom Antigha told CNN he was excited to take part in the September games.
“I feel very lucky because until now I didn’t think I could engage myself in any of these sporting activities.”
“The Invictus Foundation has helped me develop physically and mentally,” added Antigha, 30, who said he was initially depressed after being injured.
“Before joining Invictus, I had never heard of sitting volleyball. Seeing that I could play the sport without straining my limbs made me feel really good. Since then, my spirits have been lifted,” he said.
“I can now take myself to the gym for upper body work. That’s something I haven’t done since I got injured.”
Antigha, who broke his kneecap during a new football match organized by an army unit in 2019, said he was looking forward to meeting other injured soldiers from other countries.
“I want to hear their stories and compete with them as well,” he told CNN.
Team manager for the Nigerian contingent, Bobby Ojeh, told CNN that the country had been awarded 10 competitive slots and selection for the members of the team had begun.
“The 10 will play different sports,” said Ojeh, who also stated that the Nigerian team hoped to compete in categories such as wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, powerlifting and rowing.
“We have professional coaches who train our men in these sports,” he went on to say, adding that participants will attend the games with their friends and family.
Participants are chosen from a pool of 35 wounded soldiers supported by the charity.
Winners and runners-up of sports categories at the Invictus Games receive medals, but organizers say the event is not about winning medals, but about helping the veterans on their road to recovery.
Chief executive of the Invictus Games Foundation, Dominic Reid OBE, said in a press statement that he was “delighted” that Nigeria has been invited to participate in the games.
“The impact of the opportunities we provide, including within Nigeria, and the support from senior military stakeholders, was such that we felt the team there was ready and well prepared to compete in an Invictus Games,” he added please.
Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff General Lucky Irabor said Invictus’ sports programs for recovery had an impact on wounded and sick military personnel in the country.
“Since joining the Invictus Community of Nations, we have seen the impact recovery sports are already beginning to have on those injured or ill while serving, and those around them.”
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