Invictus Games

'We Are All Human': Iraqi Invictus Athlete Reflects On The Games

Siraj Muneer sustained injuries while serving in the Iraqi Army and has been competing in the archery event in Australia.

One of Team Iraq's Invictus Games athletes says "we are all human", and that politics has not had an effect on the bond between athletes in Sydney.

Siraj Muneer is a soldier in the Iraqi Army who sustained injuries ten years ago.

He was handing out food rations and supplies when he stepped on an IED, losing both of his legs.

Siraj has been competing in the archery event in Australia.

He said there is a positive spirit between competitors: "Sports and politics are not the same.

"There is a love and respect between competitors.  

"Regardless, they are my brothers and we are all human - there is no difference between us.

"It doesn’t matter who wins, as long as we show that we’re challenging life."

Siraj told Forces News that started playing sport following his injuries because "they helped me find myself":

"People with similar injuries are sitting at home doing nothing, but sport helps me challenge myself," he said.

Siraj Muneer holding miniature Australian flag

General Brigadier Ammar Jabbar is Head of Delegations for the Invictus Games in Australia, as well as the head of the Veterans' Club back in Iraq.

He said it is "a major thing" for Iraq to participate in the Games: "Many of our colleagues in the Army have been injured in ISIS and other terrorist attacks.

"It is a major thing for us to participate here so everyone knows Iraq is still there and it will come back.

"We have a saying: 'you are not considered disabled if you have a physical disability, you are considered disabled if you are narrow-minded and not accepting change'."

Find out more about the 2018 Invictus Games here.