Bendigo ex-servicemen Craig Hancock will support the participants at this year's Invictus Games in Sydney

INVICTUS GAMES: Craig Hancock has competed in multiple Invictus Games but this year he will be providing the support. Picture: NONI HYETT
INVICTUS GAMES: Craig Hancock has competed in multiple Invictus Games but this year he will be providing the support. Picture: NONI HYETT

It was his childhood ambition to join the Australian Defence Force that would eventually see Craig Hancock become an Invictus Games medalist.

He was a competitor at the Invictus Games in London 2014 and also at Toronto 2017.

This year he has decided to take a step back and become a spectator.

However, his ambition is to support all of the other competitors at the Invictus Games which will be held in Sydney from October 20-27.

“I want to use the experience I have from the previous two games to help motivate the guys and girls that have never been a part of the Invictus Games before,” Mr Hancock said.

The Invictus Games is a sporting event created by Prince Harry for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel.

The aim of Invictus is to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate an understanding and respect for servicemen and women.

Mr Hancock was injured during service in Afghanistan where an IED roadside attack on the vehicle he was travelling in caused it to be blown off the road.

After the incident he sustained a compressed fractured spine which limited his ability to stand, sit and carry heavy loads.

“Basically everything you need to do to be in the army,” he said.

The camaraderie and mateship with the people he had served with and the support from his wife and children were his biggest motivators during recovery.

“They pick you up on your down days,” he said.

His previous involvement in the Invictus Games includes competing in indoor rowing, powerlifting and archery.

“It is the only international adaptive sports event of its kind in the world that’s open to active and retired competitors,” he said.

“Everyone has a story as to why they’re a part of the Invictus Games, embrace the challenge and leave nothing out there.

“Break the stereotype of being injured or broken, either visible or non-visible injuries. You’re definitely still more than able to accomplish anything.”