Jaguar Land Rover has paid tribute to the 413 Servicemen and women who have captivated the nation at the Invictus Games, and is committed to leave a lasting legacy from the Games.
The international sporting event, which has been championed by Prince Harry and presented by Jaguar Land Rover, saw Servicemen and women from 13 nations join together and compete across four days of inspirational sport.
At Sunday’s Jaguar Land Rover Invictus Games Closing Concert, two special awards were presented to Invictus competitors Joe Townsend and Maurice Manuel.
Townsend lifted The Jaguar Award for Exceptional Performance, having followed up his four gold medals at Wednesday’s athletics with silver and bronze in hand cycling on Saturday. Townsend, who has previously cycled 3,000 miles across the USA, was presented with his award by Team Sky cyclist Ian Stannard and Olympic rower Katherine Grainger.
The veteran Royal Marine, who lost both legs above the knee after standing on an anti-tank mine in Afghanistan in 2008, said: “To be selected for this award from over 400 inspiring competitors is very special. The first ever Invictus Games have been an incredible event and this award caps a week I will remember for the rest of my life.
“Winning four gold medals on the first day of competition was incredible. Sport has played a huge role in my recovery and the Invictus Games will hopefully continue to provide a platform for people like me to achieve their goals.”
Denmark’s Maurice Manuel was named the Land Rover Unconquerable Soul for going above and beyond, in his commitment to the Games. Captaining and coaching Denmark’s wheelchair basketball team to bronze, he also won silver in the javelin, bronze in the Ambulant IT1 200m and bronze in wheelchair rugby. All these were achieved this week, whilst he cared for an unwell family member.
Army veteran Manuel served on six tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, before having his right leg amputated after being injured by an IED in 2010 while working as a combat translator. He described the Land Rover Unconquerable Soul Award, which was presented by Rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallagio, as “an honour beyond measure”.
He said: “There are so many people I want to thank for this amazing experience, being part of the Invictus Games and for helping me accomplish my goals. Thank you to my family and to all the competitors for inspiring me and pushing me to exceed my own expectations.”
Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We are immensely proud to have played our part in these hugely successful Games and would like to congratulate every one of the 413 competitors who have provided such inspiration this week.
“The Invictus Games have delivered four thrilling days of competition and further demonstrated the power of sport in recovery. The Games have demonstrated the potential of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and once again highlighted the valuable role that veterans could play as skilled employees.
“With the Games now over, our work to leave a lasting legacy will now take centre stage. Jaguar Land Rover will continue to work closely with the Royal Foundation and the Ministry of Defence to explore innovative ways of enhancing the employment prospects of ex-Service personnel moving into civilian life, including those who are wounded, injured or sick.”
The Invictus Games were organised with the support and backing of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence. The Games saw more than 400 wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, from 13 nations, compete at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Lee Valley Athletics Centre, thanks to the Mayor of London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.