ROSSMOYNE resident Richard Wassell is one of 43 serving and former serving military personnel who will represent Australia at the 2017 Invictus Games in Canada in September.
A world-record holder in indoor rowing, Mr Wassell, 51, was chosen for the games out of more than 160 applications in Australia and will compete in indoor rower and the 100m, 200m and 400m running events.
The games, founded by Prince Harry, is an international sporting event for military veterans who have suffered an injury or illness and were first held in London three years ago.
This year’s event will see more than 550 ill, injured and wounded servicemen and women from 17 allied nations compete in 12 adaptive sports including wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, archery, athletics, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, and new to the 2017 games, golf.
Mr Wassell joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1992 as an electronics warfare submariner before being discharged in 1996 after suffering an out-of-the-blue stroke on a routine patrol in the Pacific Ocean onboard the Oberon-class submarine HMAS Ovens.
The stoke affected the right side of his body and left him with no use of his right arm and limited use of his right leg.
He said most of his work in the navy was classified information and all he would say about his job at sea was he went to sleep listening to morse code tapes.
He said he missed the navy and this was part of the motivation to apply for the games.
“I wanted to get back into the military family as I have been out of it for so long.
“I miss it every day and thought the Invictus Games could be an opportunity to reconnect. I also wanted to show younger veterans that no matter what injuries or illnesses you have you can always come out the other side.”
It is the first time Mr Wassell has competed in the games that began in 2014.
“I’m English by birth and immigrated in 1988, so to represent my adopted country is a great honour,” he said.
He is currently in training and is working on being in top form both physically and mentally to perform at his best.“I’m a firm believer in the mantra ‘do what others won’t today, so tomorrow you can do what others can’t’. I regularly train after midnight. “
After his discharge Mr Wassell worked for the company that built part of the Collins class submarines in Sydney until switching to digital marketing in 2001.
He is married and a father of four children aged from 17 years to three.
“Sport has helped me set future goals and motivated me to achieve them.”
Last month Prince Harry, the Invictus Games Foundation patron, launched the 500 day countdown to the fourth Invictus Games that will take place in Sydney from October 20 to 27, 2018.