Sesame Access was proud to attend The Invictus Games on Saturday 13th September 2014.

The Invictus Games was the first event of its kind in the UK, an international sporting event for wounded, injured or sick Servicemen and women.  The competitors were from 13 nations, including GB, America, Australia, Europe and even Afghanistan.

The Invictus Games was the idea of Prince Harry, after he attended the Warrior Games – a domestic competition for wounded members of the US Armed Forces – in May 13.

It was great to be back at the Olympic Park two years after the amazing 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games.  I was interested to see if the inaugural games could recapture some of the electric atmosphere of the Olympics games.  I wanted to see the public reaction to the injured servicemen and women and the energy behind the event.   I’d also borrowed my Mum’s binoculars to see if we could spot Prince Harry amongst the crowds!!

Our day started with the Road Cycling event at the Lee Valley VeloPark.  The outside venue was not packed so we could stand right next to the track to cheer the athletes on.  The first race we saw was Hand Cycling, which was jointly won by British Athletes JJ Chalmers, Paul Vice and Robert Cromley-Hawke, who crossed the line hand-in-hand.  Fantastic! Prince Harry joked about having to present three gold medals!

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Next was road cycling and again it was amazing to be right next to the track.  The quality of the racing was exceptional and showed that the athletes were at professional level, despite their injuries.  The road race we saw was won easily by Great Britain’s Jaco Van Gass, but there was an unbelievable sprint for the medals behind Van Gass, with GB’s Terry Byrne claiming silver and France’s Henri Rebuject taking bronze.  Fantastic.

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Then it was time for some celebrity spotting, and my son spotted Price Harry within the crowds.

A nice part of the Games was seeing the Athletes walk around the stadiums talking to the public, and being kind enough to agree to photos being taken, particularly with the kids.

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Jamie aged 6 with JJ Chalmers

The afternoon was spent watching Wheelchair Basketball at The Copper Box.  First match for us was France v USA, won convincingly by USA.

Huge excitement next as GB play Denmark in the Semi-finals.  A tough match and GB win!  The final is GB v USA later that night (unfortunately I didn’t buy tickets for that L).   The crowd was amazing – great fun and passionately cheering on the athletes from all Countries.  The spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics prevailed!

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We were lucky enough to talk to Private Derek Derenalagi and Corporal Ricky Furgusson at the event.  They both are figureheads for the Invictus Games and have inspiring stories on how they have overcome their injuries.

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Conclusion?

The Invictus Games was amazing.  The crowds were amazing and they got behind the athletes 100%.  I am really pleased we attended the first games and I sincerely hope the Games are continued every year now on, to be held in other cities across GB.  Well done Prince Harry for being the Ambassador for this event and raising the profile of our amazing Servicemen and Women as top class athletes.

The motos around the stadiums said:

‘I can and will compete’  ‘I can and will achieve’  etc and this is testamount to the drive and unconquerable spirit of the Athletes.   Long may The Invictus Games continue.

Alison Lyons

Director of Commercial Development

Sesame Access Systems Ltd