Thirty-two competitors from the Australian Invictus Games 2020 – The Hague team, have been given the reprieve they were hoping for with the announcement the Games will be delayed until 2022.

A delay in any event would normally not be cause for celebration however,  the Invictus Games Foundation’s February 2 announcement of a further delay of 12 months was met with elation by the members of the Australian team.

Initially the Games, scheduled for May 2020, were postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Foundation then announced the Games would be run in 2021, in a reduced manner.

But because of Australian international travel restrictions, this would have meant the Australian team would have had to sit the Games out.

This was devastating news for the 32 members who had trained, trialled and were selected for their hard-fought positions within the Australian team.

But the latest postponement to 2022 has opened the door for the Australian team.

Invictus Games Team Australia competitors participate in a sitting volleyball training game at Pridham Hall in Adelaide. Photo: Leading Seaman Jayson Tufrey

From February 25 to 28, a training camp was held in Adelaide to brief competitors on the events and discuss the postponement. 

Team Australia Head Coach, Navy Warrant Office Geoff Stokes said the Games being postponed to 2022 was encouraging for the team.

“They were after the camaraderie which comes at the Games and the relationships with the other nations,” he said.

“If this was to happen in a virtual manner, none of that would occur.

"Doing a remote games, on your own is just not the same as doing it with the 20 other nations, on the world stage.”

The competitors were presented with their uniforms and, the collectable, Invictus Games 2020 Medallion – ‘the Games which never took place’.

The camp also provided an opportunity to monitor competitors’ recovery and rehabilitation.

Team Australia competitor Sergeant Nathan King said he was looking forward to competing next year.

“When we heard the Games were postponed, it was initially disappointing, but it gave us the chance to refocus the goals and a lot more time to prepare,” he said.

“The biggest challenge I’ve had in the last 12 months was, due to lockdown, not being able to train, losing that momentum of not training, and just trying to find the motivation to push forward.

"I’m looking forward to completing the goals we posted 18 months ago – getting into the team spirit and representing Australia."

Sergeant King said the long wait to get to these Games had affected the whole team.

“The hardest part was keeping up the motivation to keep on going when the Games were turned off, and then getting back into it when they were turned back on again," he said.

“Now the revised date has been named, I can refocus my training and set my goals from here on in.”

Warrant Officer Stokes said one of the biggest challenges for the team members, was holding their focus.

“We’ve got to be careful how we monitor that, particularly those who are doing four sports,” he said.

“Trying to do too much too early and peak too soon can be detrimental to their lead-in for the Games.”

Invictus Games Team Australia competitors take part in a wheelchair rugby training game at Pridham Hall in Adelaide. Photo: Leading Seaman Jayson Tufrey