Powerlifting attracted big names and crowds to the HP Field House today for the opening of Invictus competition, including former President George W. Bush and His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Harry.
The venue spotlight however was firmly on the lifting skills and strength of the light and heavyweight power lifters in the semi-darkened venue.
A total of 12 medals were awarded across the men’s and women’s light and heavyweight divisions which were contested by a spread of nations that included the U.S., Australia, Canada, UK, Netherlands, France, and Estonia.
The presence of President Bush and Prince Harry to award medals brought a heightened sense of occasion to the powerlifting finals with high pitched cheering and rousing applause from spectators for athletes who epitomized the spirit of Invictus, Latin for “unconquered.”
“Sport changed my life,” said UK men’s heavyweight silver medalist Ross Austen.
“I never thought in a million years that I would wrap myself in my country’s flag again,” said Ross who suffered crippling leg injuries from an Improvised Explosives Device (IED) while on patrol in Afghanistan.
His colleague, Ian Taylor who won a bronze said that sport had also changed his life.
“Sport has given me my life back. It’s given me motivation and something to focus on.”