INVICTUS GAMES LEAVE LASTING IMPRESSION ON GEORGIA'S GULADI TODUA

14th September 2014

GEORGIA’S GULADI TODUA TARGETTING MORE COMPETITIONS AFTER INVICTUS GAMES EXPERIENCE

14 September 2014

Georgian athlete Guladi Todua is targeting a place at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio after being inspired to become more active at the Invictus Games.

Todua competed in three events – archery, indoor rowing and sitting volleyball – at the inaugural Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover.

The Corporal, who still serves in the Georgian Army, was injured in 2008 during the Russo-Georgian War after being caught in a shelling in Tskhinvali.

The attack knocked him unconscious and, presumed to be dead, he was taken to a morgue. It was not until eight hours later when a woman searching for another soldier opened his body bag to find that he was in fact still breathing.

Todua had to have his left leg amputated below the knee after suffering gangrene and he revealed his pride at once again being able to represent his country.

“When I got wounded I never thought that I would have such an opportunity,” he said. “I thought my career or life would be extremely limited and I never thought I would be given such a chance. I am extremely proud that I can still represent my country and it gives me huge courage.

“For most of my brothers in arms this is the first time we have participated in any games of this sort. We had two guys who had competed in the Warrior Games but for the rest of us this was our first experience of a major competition. We were so excited and happy to be here. It is not only about playing and participating but also about socialising and our recovery. These Games unite many continents together.

“Before I came to these Games I was not that active and my first impression of England was the number of people running or doing some sports. The whole nation is extremely active and then we saw the wounded warriors with heavier injuries than us who never give up and do things through sport.

“We are extremely motivated and upon our return we are not only going to continue doing our sports but we are extremely eager to compete in the Rio Paralympics if we can manage it. That is how these Games encouraged us – we want to continue now.”

The Invictus Games are an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel championed by Prince Harry which uses the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country.

And Todua hopes he will have the chance to compete at the Invictus Games again in the future.

“I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Prince Harry. These Games are very important to us and I would like to thank him for his efforts in initiating them and I hope they can continue in the future,” he added.

“We have received excellent support from everyone at the games, both spectators and fellow competitors alike. We are staying in the same hotel as other teams and we socialise with them and we all share our experiences and wherever we go we see and feel huge support.

“This is extremely important to us and we have been overwhelmed with the welcome we have received.”