” Wounded, but not defeated “
Some had not slept of excitement. The presentation of the Dutch delegation to the Invictus Games on Saturday, the 30th of November was emotional. Not only for the 32 participants, but also for their families and friends, the four Defence units and the media. It was a very busy morning in Doorn. ,, Now, we can tell everyone that we are participating in May 2020. That brings peace for some of us, “said Team Captain Wouter Bakker.
By Edward Swier
In a video message, Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, Minister of Defence and Lieutenant-Admiral Rob Bauer, Chief of Defence, let the Dutch team know to be very proud. After the video, Lieutenant-General Onno Eichelsheim, Deputy Chief of Defence pointed to the crowded room in Doorn, looked at the group of soldiers and veterans who became ill while on duty and said: ,, You are invincible, you are Invictus. ”
Shortly before, team manager Nils Berghout presented the 32 Dutch participants. The team is composed of a number of veterans and soldiers who parcitipated in the previous editions and a few rookies. The 22-year-old Benito Versluijs, hit by a severe, chronic inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis) and physical consequences, is the youngest of the team. Robert Konter, who lost his right leg, is with 57 years the oldest. The Dutch team also has a large number of mentally injured, they suffer from PTSD. Especially for this group the busy presentation was exciting.
Team Captain Wouter Bakker: ,, When you story is told, especially in front of a big group of people like today, it can be very confrontational. It can bring back some tough memories . But as a team, we are there for each other. That’s the beauty of this kick-off, now we can go on this journey together and support each other.” Colonel of Marines Stefan Nommensen, former participant and now Chef de Mission, agrees: ,, As a team we are stronger than the sum of its parts. ”
All participating countries are engaged in the final phase of the selection process of their team or have already presented their team. Over the next 20 weeks, beginning on Tuesday, December 3rd, all participating countries will be presented on this site. Team captains and other participants all have their own story to tell. Wouter Bakker and Nils Berghout start on behalf of the Netherlands, followed by the story of Canadian Leander Volz at the 10th of December.
Photos: © SJOERD HILCKMANN/MCD and © JASPER VEROLME