February 9th 2023, London, UK and Abuja, Nigeria. The Invictus Games Foundation has formally invited Nigeria to take part in the upcoming Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023, taking the final number of participating nations to 22.
In May 2022, Nigeria was announced as joining the broader Invictus Community of Nations alongside Colombia and Israel. The original intent with Nigeria was to develop their fledgling sports recovery programme and encourage participation in events provided by the Invictus Games Foundation beyond the Games. However, they will now be attending the upcoming Invictus Games with a team of 10, thanks to the recognition of the impact of sports recovery on the community in Nigeria.
Corporal Effiom Antigha from Nigeria, who participated in the Invictus Endeavours Sport Recovery week last year said “In the past, I felt I was making no progress in my recovery and I was in a bad place mentally until I was introduced to sport recovery. There I discovered things I could still do, things like wheelchair basketball, golf and sitting volleyball which I excelled in so I will say Invictus has impacted my life greatly. In my community now, I am helping other wounded soldiers and also introducing them to sports because my road to recovery and self-confidence started with Invictus.”
Since joining the community, Nigerian service personnel have participated in opportunities such as the Virtual London Marathon, free BetterUp coaching, the IGF Rowing Challenge, and two Invictus Endeavour multi sports events in Abuja; over thirty members have joined the international community on the free digital platform We Are Invictus; and two members are set to join an international team of nine representing Invictus at the upcoming Armed Forces Para Snowsport International Winter Championships in Colorado.
Dominic Reid OBE, CEO of the Invictus Games Foundation, said, “Such was the impact of the opportunities we provide, including within Nigeria, and the support of senior military stakeholders, that we felt the team there were ready and well-prepared for joining an Invictus Games. I am delighted that an invitation has now been issued for a team of 10 wounded, injured or sick service personnel and veterans to attend the Games as the first African nation to do so”.
General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff Nigeria, said, “Since joining the Invictus Community of Nations, we have seen the impact that sports for recovery has already begun to have on those who have been injured or fallen ill whilst serving, and on those around them. We thank the team at the Invictus Games Foundation for their support and guidance and we are excited for the Games this September!”
Brigadier General Alfred Marstaller, CEO of the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023, said, “I am delighted that we were able to ensure that Team Nigeria will join us this September. A lot of work goes into delivering a team to the Invictus Games as part of a wider recovery programme within each nation, and we are grateful to the efforts of all of our team managers. We are looking forward to welcoming Team Nigeria to the Invictus Games!”
Bobby Ojeh, Team Manager of the Invictus Games Team Nigeria, will now begin the selection process for 10 members of the team, due to be announced later this year, along with their friends and family members. Members of Team Nigeria are hoping to be competing in Athletics, Indoor Rowing, Powerlifting, Sitting Volleyball and Wheelchair Basketball. The Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 are due to take place between the 9th – 16th of September, 2023.