Nu at the 2017 Invictus Games
Nu at the 2017 Invictus Games
The third iteration of the Invictus Games was held in Toronto last month - from 23 to 30 September. The event brought together 550 athletes from 17 countries to compete in a range of adaptive sports.
New Zealand was represented by a 24 strong team who were joined by approx. 50 friends, family and supporters. Most athletes competed in more than one event and return home with a medal tally of 11 - including 3 gold – making it New Zealand’s most successful games.
Congratulations Nu - our sponsored athlete at the games
Last month we sponsored Nu Filo (Faamanu Filo Leaana) to compete for New Zealand at the Games. Nu, formerly in the NZDF and now he currently works for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the IT department (IMD), was part of the Kiwi team. Nu competed in the powerlifting and the rowing and picked up 5th place in the powerlifting. A great result for what was one of the most competitive events of the games – Congratulations Nu.
Hear from Nu
Nu shares his perspective on the games, his performance and coming home – he says;
“Building up to the games I was the strongest I've ever been. I had completed a 12 week training block of bench press training which consisted of 6 bench days a week. In those 12 weeks I built my bench up from 135kgs to 150kgs before leaving the country. This was a significant jump in strength considering in Invictus Games 2016 my 1st and 2nd attempts were 120kgs and 130kgs respectively. On my 3rd attempt I failed a 140Kgs lift. This year 140 was my first attempt and my second was 150. Mentally and physically I felt confident about my training.
We flew to Toronto 3 days earlier than every other team. This was ideal as we learnt from last year when our basketball and rugby wheelchair played 8 games 2 days after a 24 hour flight. This year I had plenty of time to acclimatise, 8 days to prepare in Toronto for my 3 events in Powerlifting, 4 and 1 minute rowing. I completed 2 days of bench training where I was doing exactly what I needed to do in my event. Warm up to my opening lift of 140 and attempt my 2nd lift of 150.
The Invictus Games was the most humbling experience - I am very honoured to have the opportunity to represent NZ in two Invictus Games. When I got injured in 2006 I could never have imagined competing at the Invictus Games along other injured, wounded and sick servicemen and service women from all over the world. Whether we were at the start of our journey or the end, Invictus Games allowed us to use adaptive sports to recover. For many athletes, it was also a homecoming as we got to speak to like-minded athletes who we can relate to and share our stories with. When you know a team mates story and you see them grow, it makes you want to work hard for them.
The rowing night was the most successful night for the Kiwis. We won 6 medals including 2 Gold. Seeing Allister Baker win the Silver Medal in rowing was as satisfying to me as it was for him. I knew the work he had put it to get that medal so we had to enjoy a cold beverage together as we celebrated a successful night. The kiwi supporters were amazing - they stuck out in their Black and they shared a close bond with us and were very proud. Willie Apiata (our VC at the Games) who is the NZ patron, travelled with the friends and family and he approached me to do a haka for the Archery team who won Bronze. It was awesome. There was no greater feeling than performing a haka for your teammates winning a medal.
A great appreciation I have for the Invictus Games Foundation is the friends and family program. This includes free accommodation, food, transport and tickets to venues for 2 loved ones. The day after my events I spent the day at Niagara Falls with my partner Mary and friend Brooke. That was an experience of a lifetime, when you are going through your journey so are your friends and family and to see them honoured just put a smile on my face.
Coming back home the next chapter is to spread the Invictus Games word. Let other Kiwi servicemen and servicewomen know that our injury or sickness does not define us. Never give up!
My ultimate goal is to compete in the Paralympics for New Zealand and NZ Paralympics has a pathway for Powerlifting. Next year I plan to put head over to Sydney 2018 Invictus Games and put the Powerlifting and rowing together. I will also enter shot-put and discuss and will look at having fun."