The majority of Tuesday’s events consisted of Track and Field events. There were 300 medals for the taking in 40 different events. Fans were treated to veteran and active duty runners, standing and sitting discus throwers and shot put tossers. There were several heats held based on injury level.
The running events included the 100-meter dash, 200-meter, 400-meter, 1500-meter races along with mixed 4×100 relays.
Competition between countries was fierce to claim the gold medals, however, Jordan just wanted to receive a medal. It did so when Jehad Bani Omar defeated New Zealand’s Bari Henry in standing shot put, taking home the gold.
Through a translator, Bani Omar talked about what the Invictus Games mean to his people and how it felt to bring a gold home to Jordan: “These sports, they give us hope. It gives us an opportunity to meet the other nations and give us another chance after our injuries.”
Jordan had another proud moment when Ulfat Al-Zwiri, the only woman from that country celebrated the Invictus spirit by completing the 100-metre dash well behind her competitors. She received rousing support from the stands, her competitors, but most importantly from her parents who came all the way from Jordan to be in the crowd.
A member of the Jordanian delegation said: “We are all very proud of Ulfat. We hope the bravery and sense of purpose she displayed in coming here to participate in the Games and the challenges she faced and has overcame just to participate here will shatter stereotypes. We hope she will become a role model for a new generation of women in Jordan as well as for injured soldiers to show it is possible to conquer barriers and obstacles in your way and that sport can help this; that sport can give your another chance.”
Many competitors said their drive came from the push they’ve received from their home countries. Yet they all hoped to inspire people watching from all across the globe. For some, like Alex Nguyen from the United States, he has an added incentive: “[My performance] shows I’m one of the top competitors in the Military,” said Nguyen after being in the medal hunt at sitting Shot Put. “My kid can look back on me and say ‘My dad’s an awesome thrower’ or ‘He plays great at basketball,’ so that makes me feel great.”
There was friendly banter between the US and Australia. Competitors support each other both on the field and at the podium. Many, however, when asked what the motivation behind competing in these Games is, athletes, like the United Kingdom’s Nathan Cumberland said for him, it’s family: “My wife and my boy; family’s the most important thing. If they say they are proud of me when I’m out here, then that’s all I need.”
In sitting Volleyball, Georgia took home the bronze; the UK silver, and the United States won the gold. After winning Pool 2 in the preliminary rounds, defeating Denmark and the Netherlands to face off against the UK in the semi-finals.
Georgia’s volleyball team captain, said of what advancing meant to his team: “It is a fantastic opportunity to play in finals at the Invictus Games, the team and I are focused and determined to win a medal in Sitting Volleyball, we have the teamwork and skill to be champions”