1. ITV Report

Invictus Games 2018: Meet some of the West Country athletes

The 2018 Invictus Games kick off in Sydney on 20 October and several West Country hopefuls make-up this year's UK team. Credit: ITV West Country

The Invictus Games kick off this weekend in Sydney and feature a host of inspirational athletes from the West Country.

The Paralympic-style sports competition is the brainchild of Prince Harry in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans compete.

Among the events are wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, indoor rowing, cycling and swimming.

Meet some of the West Country athletes:

  • Debbie Godfrey - Torpoint
Debbie Godfrey, Torpoint Credit: ITV West Country

Debbie left the Royal Navy more than ten years ago after being medically discharged, just before reaching 22 years of service. After leaving she became isolated, depressed and inactive.

She thought about applying for the Invictus Games two years ago, but couldn't bring herself to. Last year, her children persuaded her and she was selected for both the archery and sailing events.

To realise you can never get back to full fitness, it's kind of frustrating when you can't go training, but that's the way it is. When I'd been outside for a long time, frustration turned into upset, anger, and I didn't feel good about myself. It becomes depression. It's like walking in treacle, but you don't know any different. You just carry on. The only reason I know I have been different is engaging in this.

– Debbie Godfrey
  • Nick Martin - Plymouth
Nick Martin, Plymouth Credit: ITV West Country

Nick is a Falklands veteran and suffered with lung problems and brain damage after his ship blew up. His experiences also left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This month he will be riding in the UK team at the games - something he would never have imagined after coming last in his trial race. His family will be in Sydney to support him.

Unfortunately, I've let my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder rule my life for 35 years. I've had two marriages that have broken down and I've lost contact with my children. My PTSD has sabotaged anything that was good in my life. It has been really tough. I found myself living in a rut and I was happy in there - or at least I thought I was - but it was just an excuse for not to do the things you should do with life. You only get the one go at life don't you?"

– Nick Martin
  • Mark Ormrod - Plymouth
Mark Ormrod, Plymouth Credit: ITV West Country

In last year's Invictus Games, Mark won a special achievement medal alongside two bronze and two silvers. The Former Royal Commando was on a routine foot patrol in Helmand Province in 2007 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. He lost both of his legs and one of his arms, becoming the first triple amputee of the war in Afghanistan.

Mark was told he would never walk again, but was determined to prove people wrong. His goal in Sydney is to win gold.

As well as rowing and swimming, Mark is taking on two new events this year - Discus and Shot put. He says his three motivators are his children - Kezia, Mason and Evelyn.

Being in the Invictus Games and on the UK team, I take that very seriously, representing the country. When I go out there I want to represent them knowing that I've done the very best I can.

– Mark Ormrod

The Games will take place in Sydney from 20 October and the UK team will compete in all of the 11 sports.