Invictus Games Flag Relay kicks off at CFB Esquimalt

Lt(N) Krista Seguin waves the Invictus Games flag at CFB Esquimalt Aug. 16. Photo by LS David Gariepy, MARPAC Imaging

Lt(N) Krista Seguin waves the Invictus Games flag at CFB Esquimalt Aug. 16. Photo by LS David Gariepy, MARPAC Imaging

Will Chaster, Base Public Affairs Office ~

The Invictus Games Flag Relay set off from Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt on Aug. 16.

Lasting 37 days, the 10,000 km Flag Relay will see 152 Canadians carry the Invictus Games Flag across the country as it visits 22 military bases, 15 legions and more than 50 communities. Its final stop is Toronto where it will arrive in time for the opening of the 3rd Invictus Games, held from September 23 to 30.

Founded by the United Kingdom’s Prince Harry in 2014, the Invictus Games are an international multi-sport event involving wounded, injured and ill military personnel and veterans. This year’s athletes will compete in 12 adaptive sports involving everything from wheelchair basketball to archery.

In a ceremony held at CFB Esquimalt, members of the public and military witnessed the raising of the flag and heard speeches from visiting dignitaries. These included two of the athletes who will be competing in the upcoming Games: Corporal (Retired) Elizabeth Steeves and Corporal (Retired) Rob Sanders.

“The Invictus Games represent a challenge, but one that I am honoured to face,” said Cpl (Retd) Steeves.

All participating athletes have overcome incredible struggles due to injuries, both mental and physical, and at this ceremony both atheletes emphasised the importance that these Games play in their lives.

“Training for the Games has helped me to better accept the symptoms [of PTSD] and I have regained my self-confidence and self-esteem,” said Cpl (Retd) Sanders.

With more than 400 people attending the ceremony, the athletes were touched by the level of support shown for the Games and spoke to how important this support is for them and for wounded veterans and serving members at large.

“The journey has not been easy… but I love seeing so many people out here to support us,” said Cpl (Retd) Steeves.

Within a month, these athletes will join competitors from militaries around the world as they congregate in Toronto, eager to show that wounded does not mean defeated.

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