KABUL, Afghanistan, May 15, 2017 —
With unbreakable spirits on full display, 51 wounded Afghan warriors participated in the final team selection trials here for the Invictus Games Toronto 2017.
Seven of these veterans will represent Afghanistan in indoor rowing, powerlifting and/or sitting volleyball.
They will compete with 17 other nations; of those, 14 had service members who were either wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.
General John Nicholson, Resolute Support commander, praised the competitors by addressing them as undefeated and emphasizing their resilience in the face of terrorist aggression.
“You have been tested and you prevailed, right alongside your comrades, your brothers. In particular, the Afghan Army has excelled over the last few years, fighting in a war that would break most armies; yet, it continues to spring up with a warrior spirit; fighting for what is right and just,” Nicholson said.
The Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, Kenneth Neufeld, was also present during the trials and commented the competitors to continue inspiring others.
“I was moved today by seeing the reality of the results of fighting on this conflict, but I was also uplifted by the evidence and spirit of these Wounded Warriors,” Neufeld expressed .
The opening of the trials was declared by Maj. Anthony Maggert, a U.S. wounded Warrior, who sees these Afghan soldiers as his brothers on the battlefield.
“The human spirit is not limited to social boundaries,” Maggert said. “Today, we will prove to the world that our injuries are badges that show our commitment to never accepting those boundaries.”
Chosen via a merit-based selection process, the team of seven will train, travel and compete together, representing the unconquerable spirit of Afghanistan through the rehabilitative power of sports.
The Invictus Games were created in 2013 by Prince Harry as a way to recognize Wounded Warriors for their achievements in the defense of their country.