Rugby League: Ex-submariner raring to try out for Invictus Games

Richard Wassell and RSL president Bill Collidge.
Richard Wassell and RSL president Bill Collidge.

ROSSMOYNE’S Richard Wassell was discharged from the Navy aged 28 after suffering major strokes and enduring several stints in hospital.

In was the 1990’s and the submariner was sad to see the end of a career he enjoyed.

Moving into the corporate world, Mr Wassell remains tied to his military roots as a member of the Riverton RSL, and more recently has taken on the challenge to join the Australian Invictus Games training squad with hope to qualify for the games in Toronto in September.

The Invictus Games, an initiative of Prince Harry, brings together more than 550 athletes from 17 nations who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service.

Mr Wassell said he was overwhelmed to be chosen for the games training squad .

“I’m extremely excited and still coming to grips with it all because I can’t quite believe that I’ve been chosen,” he said.

“The week of competition at the Invictus Games Trials at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra was a week that I will never forget with a great bunch of amazingly inspiring athletes. Whatever happens, I believe we have already won.”

Mr Wassell competed in indoor rowing and athletics at the trials and while he is relatively new to athletics competition, currently holds three world records in indoor rowing.

Riverton RSLSub-branch president Bill Collidge, said he was extremely proud of Mr Wassel’s’ achievements as an Australian ex-serviceman and he called on all Sub-branch members and the local community to get support his remarkable endeavours.

“The Invictus Games is the stuff of legends and for Richard to be chosen as part of a 55-person Australian squad from more than 180 applicants speaks volumes for his abilities and his determination to overcome adversity,” he Collidge said.

“He is an inspiration to us all and on behalf of the RSL I congratulate him on his achievements and wish him every success.”

Mr Wassell, a married father of four said he hoped his experiences would encourage other veterans to apply for the 2018 Invictus Games.

“I want to inspire people. I want people to look at me and say, because of you, I didn’t give up,” he said.

For more information on how to apply, go to www.defence.gov.au/events/InvictusGames/ or www.facebook.com/Team.Invictus.Australia/ to follow the Australian team’s progress.