Prince Harry wishes good luck to Invictus Games competitors heading to Rio 2016 Paralympic games

5 September 2016 – Prince Harry has sent his best wishes to the Invictus Games competitors who have been selected to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

11 competitors from five nations who competed in the the 2014 or 2016 Invictus Games will once again represent their country later this month in Brazil. They will be going for Gold in seven different sports and all bar two competitors will be making their debut at a Paralympic Games.

Prince Harry, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation said: “I remember watching these competitors at the 2014 and 2016 Invictus Games. And now they’ve been selected for the Rio Paralympic Games. I can’t think of a better example of showing how important sport can be for recovery.

“I know they’ll compete with the same Invictus spirit that we saw in London and Orlando – motivated not just by winning, but by pushing their bodies and minds to the absolute limit to prove to the world there is life beyond injury.

“They will lift everyone around them and whether you’re watching in Rio or on TV around the world, they will inspire you. I’m incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved and will be cheering on every single competitor during the Games.

Addressing the 11 competitors directly, Prince Harry added: “To those Invictus Games competitors representing your five nations, all I have to say to you is what an incredible achievement – well done for your selection. You have trained harder than ever, but the fight to the finish line won’t be easy. You all know this better than anyone. Cherish this moment as you get to serve your country again. Absorb the applause and atmosphere for inspiring millions, but most importantly – have fun!”

The 11 competitors who have been selected are:

• Curtis McGrath, Australia – competing in Para-Canoe

• Christine Gauthier, Canada – competing in Para-Canoe

• Dave Henson, GB – competing in Athletics

• Micky Yule, GB – competing in Powerlifting

• Joe Townsend, GB – competing in Parathriathlon

• Mikey Hall, GB – competing in Archery

• Nick Beighton, GB – competing in Para-Canoe

• Monica Contraffatto, Italy – competing in Athletics

• Elizabeth Marks, USA – competing in Swimming

• Jennifer Schuble, USA – competing in Cycling

• Shawn Cheshire, USA – competing in Cycling

The full schedule for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games can be found here: https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/schedule-and-results

The Invictus Games Foundation was established after the success of the London 2014 Games, to pursue and develop the legacy of the Invictus Games. It manages the process of selecting the hosts of future games and oversees their delivery.

Thanks to its success, the Invictus Games has created the blueprint for inspiring many more ‘wounded warriors’ on their journey of recovery. Following the London 2014 and Orlando 2016 Invictus Games, the third Invictus Games will take place in Toronto from 24 – 30 September 2017.

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Biographies of Invictus Games competitors selected for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

• Curtis McGrath

During his service to the Australian Defence Force Curtis McGrath was injured by an Improvised Explosive Device in 2012 while serving as a combat engineer. This led to the loss of both of his legs. In his recovery sport has played an integral part. At the London 2014 Invictus Games Curtis competed in Archery and won a Silver and Bronze medal in swimming. In Orlando earlier this year he won a Gold medal in the indoor rowing and a three silver medals in swimming.

In Rio, Curtis will be going for gold in the K2 Canoeing on the 14th and 15th September.

More information on Curtis can be found at http://curtismcgrath.com.au/.

• Christine Gauthier

Christine Gauthier is a five-time paracanoe World Champion in the K1 200 metres (kL2 category). She started paracanoe as an outing with her sisters after suffering injuries during her military service. Gauthier was in the regular force field artillery for 10 years. While training on an obstacle course in 1989, she jumped into a deep hole and had a bad landing. The resulting injuries to her knees, hips, neck and back have required several surgeries so far.

Christine won three Gold medals in the heavyweight powerlifting and indoor rowing events at the 2016 Invictus Games.

In Rio, Christine will be competing in the K1 Para-Canoe event on 14th and 15th September.

• Dave Henson

Former Army Captain Dave was injured in Afghanistan in 2011 while serving for the Royal Engineers when he stepped on an IED, resulting in the loss of both his legs. Dave captained the British Armed Forces Team at the London 2014 Invictus Games winning multiple medals in Athletics and Sitting Volleyball. In Orlando, he won Gold in Athletics, in the 200m. Off the track Dave has a first class degree in Mechanical Engineering and a masters in Biomedical Engineering.

The support provided to Dave forms part of Help for Heroes’ partnership with British Athletics and the British Paralympic Association to introduce military personnel and veterans to Paralympic Sport.

In Rio, Dave will be competing in the Athletics 100m T42 on 14th September and the 200m T42 event on 10th September.

More information on Dave can be found at http://rio.paralympics.org.uk/meet-the-team/athlete-profile/dave-henson

• Micky Yule

A former Staff Sergeant, Micky served with the Royal Engineers, losing both of his legs above the knee when he stepped on an IED in Helmand Province in 2010. Micky was a part of the Army powerlifting team pre-injury, and has used the sport as a huge part of his rehabilitation and recovery, culminating in a fourth place at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Gold at the 2014 and 2016 Invictus Games in powerlifting.

The support provided to Micky forms part of Help for Heroes’ partnership with British Weightlifting and the British Paralympic Association to introduce military personnel and veterans to Paralympic Sport.

In Rio, Micky will be competing in the -65kg Powerlifting event on 10th September. More information can be found about Micky here: http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/sports-recovery/elite-military-athletes/micky-yule/

• Joe Townsend

Former Royal Marine Joseph Townsend was injured in 2008 after standing on an anti-tank mine that was buried just below ground and both of his legs in the blast. Joe was determined not to let his injures get the better of him, and has competed in many endurance races including the Bolton Iron Man, twice. In June 2012, Townsend took on the world’s toughest cycling race, RAAM, cycling over 3,000 miles across America with seven other wounded servicemen raising money for Help for Heroes. Joe competed in Athletics and Cycling at the 2014 Invictus Games winning six medals in total, four of them gold.

The support provided to Joe forms part of Help for Heroes’ partnership with British Triathlon and the British Paralympic Association to introduce military personnel and veterans to Paralympic Sport.

Joe will be going for gold on the 10th September in the PT1 Triathlon event. For more information visit http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/sports-recovery/elite-military-athletes/joe-townsend/

• Mikey Hall

Mikey Hall was left paralysed from the chest down after falling during an army assault course, breaking his neck and back in numerous places. Sport has played a vital role in his recovery, particularly archery, for which he was already a qualified coach. He now uses a compound bow, ideal for target shooting and easier to use when in a wheelchair. At the London 2014 Invictus Games Mikey compted in Archery winning a Gold and Bronze medal.

The support provided to Mikey forms part of the Help for Heroes’ partnership with ArcheryGB, The British Paralympic Association and UK Sport to introduce military personnel to Paralympic Sport.

In Rio, Mikey will be competing in the Team Compound Open on the 12th September and the Individual Compound Open on the 14th September. For more information visit http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/sports-recovery/elite-military-athletes/mikey-hall/

• Nick Beighton

Prior to his sporting career, Nick was a Captain in the Royal Engineers of the British Army. In 2009, while in Afghanistan, he stood on an explosive device and lost both of his legs. At the 2014 Invictus Games he won three Gold medals in the Indoor Rowing. Nick also competed in rowing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, coming 4th in the TAMix2x class before he transitioned to British Canoeing in 2014.

The support provided to Nick forms part of Help for Heroes’ partnership with British Canoeing and the British Paralympic Association to introduce military personnel and veterans to Paralympic Sport.

In Rio, Nick will be competing in the Para-Canoe K2 race on the 14th September. For more information visit http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/sports-recovery/elite-military-athletes/nick-beighton/

• Monica Contraffatto

Monica Contrafatto is a Caporal. While serving in Afghanistan, Contrafatto was injured resulting in the loss of her leg. She is now serving in the Army General Staff. At the 2014 Invictus Games she competed in the Swimming and Wheelchair Basketball. Earlier this year in Orlando Monica competed in Athletics winning a Bronze medal.

In Rio Monica will be competing in the Athletics T42 100m event on 17th September.

• Elizabeth Marks

U.S. Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks suffered bilateral hip injuries during a tour in Iraq, and had to endure four surgeries in 18 months. She was due to compete in the 2014 Invictus Games but on arrival she had trouble breathing and was admitted to a hospital, as her conditioned worsened. Expected to die, she was on life support for two weeks with a machine breathing for her.

Elizabeth competed in swimming at the 2016 Invictus Games winning four gold medals. After she was awarded her fourth medal, she asked Prince Harry to return it to Papworth Hospital in Cambridge which she credits with saving her life.

In Rio, Elizabeth who is currently ranked number one in the world in the 100-meter breaststroke per the International Paralympic Committee will be going for Gold in the SB7 100m on the 10th September.

• Jennifer Schuble

Schuble was in her third year as a cadet at West Point when she flipped onto her head in a hand-to-hand combat accident. Schuble sustained the first of two traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Soon after the second, which occurred during a ruck run, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At the 2016 Invictus Games Jennifer won two Gold medals in Cycling.

In Rio, Jennifer will be competing in the Individual C5 Pursuit Cycling on 8th September, the C5 Team Sprint event on the 11th September, the C5 Time Trial on 14th September and the C5 Road Race on 17th Septembe.

• Shawn Cheshire

While working as an emergency medical technician, Shawn fell while carrying a patient to the ambulance and hit her head, resulting in a complete loss of vision, as well as confidence. She made a choice to overcome her fear and step into the world of adaptive sports. This gave her the focus to get out of bed and to the gym to train. At the 2014 Invictus Games, Shawn won four medals in Indoor Rowing and also competed in Athletics.

In Rio, Shawn will be competing in the Individual B 1km Time Trial on the 9th September and the Individual B Pursuit event on the 11th September.

Notes to editors

The Invictus Games is the international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, both serving and veteran. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country.

The inaugural Invictus Games, held in London in September 2014, saw over 400 competitors from 13 nations compete in nine sports, as well as a driving challenge organised by Jaguar Land Rover. Crowds of over 65,000 people packed venues on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Lee Valley Athletics Centre from 10 – 14 September and more than 10 million watched the Games on the BBC.

The Invictus Games Orlando 2016 took place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from 8 – 12 May 2016. 500 competitors from 14 nations competed in 10 sports.

Media enquiries

For more information about the Invictus Games Foundation, please contact Julie Burley at Julie.burley@invictusgames.org or +44 (0) 7974302999.

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