HP Field House, one of the key sports sites for the Invictus Games Orlando 2016, underwent a dramatic transformation from Powerlifting to Rowing this afternoon as athletes from around the world competed for a boat full of rowing medals.
The venue that hosted the powerlifting finals in the morning with single athletes taking it in turns to lift their best and heaviest weights, was dramatically reconfigured and expanded in the afternoon to enable up to 22 rowers to compete simultaneously in rowing machines adapted to meet the needs of servicemen and women with a wide variety of injuries and conditions.
A grand total of 57 gold, silver and bronze were awarded in 19 separate waves or rowing event categories that included injured men and women from counties and nations as culturally and geographically diverse and distant as New Zealand and Canada, Italy, Australia, Estonia, Denmark, the United States and Afghanistan.
Athletes like Curtis McGrath, from Australia, a double leg amputee after devastating injuries suffered in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack while on duty in Afghanistan, won rowing gold today in the Wave 17 event, said that sport had been an essential and part of the journey towards recovery for many injured servicemen and women.
“Having a purpose and to use sport as that purpose empowers you to show what you can do and how far you can come.”