Former New Zealand Army soldier Damien Nepata is looking forward to competing and representing the NZDF at the Invictus Games in Canada.
13 September 2017
Former New Zealand Army soldier Damien Nepata is keen to tell his story and support other wounded warriors on the road to recovery at the Invictus Games in Canada this month.
The Invictus Games is the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and ill active duty and veteran service members. This year’s event, in Toronto from 23-30 September, will be the largest yet, with 550 ill and injured servicemen and women from 17 allied nations competing in 12 adaptive sporting events.
Nepata, who was born in Napier and grew up in Taupo, will be part of a 24-strong New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) team competing in the Games. He will compete in archery, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball.
He suffered severe injuries in 1994 when a Scorpion tank he was driving rolled during a training exercise in Waioru. He received third-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body, resulting in more than 50 operations.
He decided to apply for the Invictus Games team because he wanted to support other competitors.
“I saw it as an avenue to support wounded warriors and to share my experience with recovering from serious injury and dealing with the mental health issues that invariably follow,” he said.
“It has also given me an incentive to focus on my physical fitness and to compete in a safe environment with others who have similar values, drive, energy and sense of purpose.”
He is looking forward to competing and representing the NZDF.
“Being part of Invictus, for me, practically demonstrates the NZDF’s commitment to supporting its personnel who have been injured as a result of their service and that value can not be underestimated,” he said.
The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate awareness of the physical and psychological injuries sustained by wounded warriors.
The NZDF team is sponsored by the Auckland RSA, Christchurch Memorial RSA, Fulton Hogan, BLK and Offlimits Trust.