Ilford woman to represent country in athletics, powerlifting and rowing at Invictus Games
PUBLISHED: 09:07 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:07 22 October 2018
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A woman from Ilford is heading Down Under to represent the UK at the Invictus Games.
Lance corporal Abbie Kasparis, 32, will be representing the country in athletics, powerlifting and rowing in Australia.
The Invictus Games is an international multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel take part in a variety of disciplines.
Abbie credits sport in assisting her ongoing recovery and said her family have noticed an increase in confidence since she began training.
“I have a reason to get out of bed and keep living,” she said.
“It’s a dream come true and a huge privilege to represent my country.”
There are 72 competitors from the UK and they have now all departed from London Heathrow for Sydney, flying with sponsors British Airways.
They will join 17 other nations to compete in 11 medal sports. Events are being staged across greater Sydney, including Sydney Olympic Park and Sydney Harbour.
The games will begin with an opening ceremony on Saturday, October 20 at the Sydney Opera House.
Captain of team UK, Mark “Dot” Perkins, said: “Today is the culmination of months of careful preparation by all 72 competitors and the many staff, friends and family who have supported us.
“The next two weeks will demonstrate the unique power of sport to support recovery.
“Team UK are ready, raring to go and enjoying the camaraderie which the Armed Forces is famous for.”
Jayne Kavanagh, of Help for Heroes, said: “Team UK have been working extremely hard for this moment and are ready to do the nation proud in Sydney.
“Achieving their goals with the British public behind them provides an incredible springboard for the recovery journeys that will continue long after the games have ended.
“We are very grateful to our partners and sponsors who have helped make this opportunity possible.”
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I wish all of our UK competitors the best of luck in Australia.
“The word invictus means unconquered and perfectly embodies the fighting spirit of our Armed Forces and ex-service personnel.”