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Clare's Invictus Games Experience

clare keatingAn amazing opening ceremony with the Kaiser Chiefs as the headline act the games officially opened with team UK and the delegation of 59 athletes dancing away.  The friends and family in the crowd thoroughly enjoyed it too.  I was honoured to be asked to take part in an unconquered team competing in sitting volleyball on the bus on the way home from the ceremony.  As someone who's visually impaired this would normally be an instant no, but the unconquered team was in the spirit of Invictus and I'm so glad I did it

I was teamed with 3 competitors from team UK, some Australians and some Danish.  We had our first game against team UK the next day and we were brilliant.  We had so much fun but unfortunately did get beat. Team UK said we played the game so well that it was really enjoyable.

We had a visit to the British embassy and met the lovely British ambassador to the Netherlands. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also greeted us all individually and were so warm and welcoming.  In fact that carried on right throughout the games.

I was lucky enough to be selected to attend a reception of trustees and again the Duke and Duchess who did ask how I got on with the sitting volleyball and that my face seemed to be intact so it must have gone well!

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The stories of the other competitors from around the world was really inspiring. It pushes you on. To make yourself and your family proud.

I also took part in the indoor rowing and powerlifting competitions. I would say powerlifting is where my heart lies but I've got a new found love of rowing too. It's hard. 4 minutes seems like a lifetime but I have the most amazing coaches. I proved that but just being pipped to 3rd by 2 meters. I got a huge personal best and increased my overall pb but 100 meters in 2 years. I sit at 948 meters now. I'll get that 1000 meters soon enough.

Powerlifting was on Thursday and being surrounded by the most amazing team is awesome. Having my family there cheering me on just completed it. I also came 4th out of 8 in powerlifting but to achieve that was amazing.

I was 2 meters off bronze in the rowing and also 4th in the powerlifting! It was an amazing experience and I'll take lots away from it. My next thing is I've been asked to apply for the paralympic pathway for rowing

Seeing people overcome fears, adversity and their disabilities is so amazing.

Sport is a wonderful thing and really can't be underestimated.

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