Invictus Games

Team UK Athletes Train In Nottingham Ahead Of Invictus Games 2020

The event takes place in The Hague, The Netherlands from 9-16 May 2020.

Team UK athletes have been preparing in Nottingham ahead of the 2020 Invictus Games.

The event is being held in May in The Hague, Netherlands.

Powerlifters and indoor rowers were among competitors training at the Harvey Heddon Sports Centre.

James Stride is one of them and will be competing at his first-ever Invictus Games in The Hague.

His path to the team started with social media.

"I left the Army quite a long time ago now - it’s getting on for nearly ten years," he said.

"I was watching the Invictus Games a couple of years ago and a friend of mine was competing and did really well.

"I sent her a message on social media and he said to me why don’t you come and get involved.

"I sent an email and here I am."

James Stride will be hoping to spearhead Team UK's powerlifting hopes in the Netherlands.

Another debutant in The Hague will be Charlie Dye.

The former RAF corporal was only discharged from the military at the end of 2019 and believes the Invictus experience so far has given him confidence.

He said: "When I was told I was discharged, I did go down a very dark route.

"Luckily, I had friends, my wife and supportive family around me to bring me back out of it and my physio recommended the Invictus Games to try and see what they offered.

"I didn’t think I was going to get anywhere near the trials in Sheffield because my mindset was that I’m not worthy of that.

"It’s been one hell of a journey so far."

Charlie Dye managed to take a break from the rowing for a dance session in Nottingham.

Since being confirmed as part of Team UK, Charlie has been able to experience being part of a completely different team.

He said: "[It felt] that you were coming back into part of something.

"When you get medically discharged, you become non-effective.

"There is a support network for you but it is not the same as being in your workplace and being surrounded by everybody.

"Having the email saying you are now going to be part of the 65 plus seven-strong team was just like another weight lifted off your shoulder.

"You’re in and you know you have that support network for the rest of your life because once you are in, we are a family."