Invictus Games

Finishing Touches: Team UK Invictus Games Athletes Raring To Go

Team UK athletes have been taking part in their final training sessions ahead of the Invictus Games getting underway later this month...

Team UK athletes have been taking part in their final training sessions ahead of the Invictus Games getting underway later this month.

A group of 90 wounded, injured or sick British forces personnel and veterans will be competing across 11 different sports when the competition begins on September 23.

They've now completed their official Invictus Games training camps ahead of travelling to Toronto next week.

One of those on the plane will be former Royal Marine Corporal Ian Ronald, who'll be competing in indoor rowing.

Invictus Games indoor rower Ian Ronald

He found out he had a brain tumour nine years ago. The surgery to treat it resulted in temporary paralysis, and although he has since regained speech and movement it still impacts his life.

He told Forces Network: "I took up rowing as a sport early on in my rehabilitation and that helped me exponentially.

"I'd seen the Invictus Games over the last couple of years and thought 'I want to give that a go'. Now that I'm away from the Marines, it's given me that drive and push to strive for something more. Being back in a military environment is fantastic."

Indoor rowing is one of the most fiercely competed individual sports at the Games, with on the spot speed, power and endurance all tested.

Through Invictus Ian continues to be inspired by fellow athletes, including the likes of fellow Royal Marine Mark Ormrod.

Mark Ormrod Invictus Games training

In turn, those competing have proved an inspiration to spectators, friends and family.

One example is Sergeant Kevin Drake who had his leg amputated last year after an injury sustained in 2013. He said:

"[I'm] a lot more confident, I socialise a lot more... I used to sit at home quite a lot."

Sergeant Drake's wife Julie added: "He's back to being one of the boys. He's back to being in a team... He's happy again.

"He's brought himself back out of his shell. It's given him a new lease of life."

Team UK's sitting volleyball players, meanwhile, have been tuning up at one of the powerhouses of British sport and development, the University of Bath.

Back in the coaching chair is a familiar face and Invictus Games veteran, Charlie Walker.

Invictus Games sitting volleyball coach Charlie Walker

He has plenty of experience to draw on in his team - including Daniel Kitcher, who competed in Orlando.

There are also a number of new players like former RAF Senior Aircraftman Michael Mellon.

Already a successful sportsman in para javelin and wheelchair rugby league, he had to find an Invictus sport to compete in. He said:

"The biggest thing, definitely, is being with the lads, just having so much fun. That's what it's about, I think."

Now it's up to the athletes to maintain a peak level of fitness ahead of the competition, which will run until the end of the month.

More: From Cancer To Representing GB: Army Cycling Gets Inspiring