Pool adds to success

October 06, 2017

(L-R) Former soldier Heidi Joosten and Leading Aircraftwoman Melissa Roberts enter the 2017 Invictus Games closing ceremony at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on 30 September. Photo by CPL Mark Doran

INVICTUS Games athlete and Cohuna local Melissa Roberts has added four medals to her already impressive haul by dominating in the pool, capping off a memorable Games debut.

Roberts managed to qualify second and third in both the 50m breaststroke and backstroke events, going on to win silver and bronze in the two categories.

Her day would only get better though, going on to win another silver medal in the 100m freestyle, before again taking to the podium for the 50m freestyle, just off the pace of eventual winner and fellow Australian Sarah Watson, by just more than two seconds.

“I’m very elated to finish the Games with some more great results in the pool and honoured to share the podium with fellow Aussie teammates in all my events”, said Roberts.

“The strong, never-give-up Aussie team spirit was developed through training camps over the last 10 months before heading to Toronto. A family-like atmosphere was highly encouraged and supported by the staff and coaches who helped us to exceed beyond our individual and team expectations for the number of competitors we had against the bigger countries.”

The Invictus Games were founded by his Royal Highness Prince Harry in 2014; the games an opportunity for injured men and women of the armed services to “inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country”, according to Prince Harry.

Roberts said she’d been inspired by the Invictus experience.

‘‘Invictus is Latin for unconquered and competing has really motivated me to spread the message to injured, ill or wounded current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force to use sport as a way to take control of their recovery.

‘‘The Games were real closure for me on the last four years of rehabilitation after suffering a traumatic brain injury due to a service accident.’’

Earlier in the games, she claimed silver medals in the 1500m endurance run and the 4 minute endurance indoor rowing categories. She also threw a remarkable 24 metres in the discus final, landing herself another bronze medal.

With the 2018 Games to be held in Sydney, Roberts said she’d be giving her all to again represent the country.

“It is going to be highly competitive to make the cut for the team to compete in the games in Sydney, but I will give it my best shot,” she said.

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