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Archer Andy hopes to be on target at Invictus Games

Andy Phillips hopes to add to his tally of Invictus Games gold medals at this year's competition, starting on Sunday in Florida.

Andy Phillips and his children

The former RAF Armourer Andy Phillips will compete in compound archery, defending his 2014 title, as well as the discus and shot put events. He will join 110 other wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans representing the United Kingdom across 10 different events.

Andy, 50, explained what competing means to him. He said: "The last Games was life-changing for me, I did not realise it at the time, how much it meant to me to represent the British Armed Forces.

"In the end winning a gold medal, felt like I'd finally finished my military career on a high, albeit 21 years after I'd been medically discharged. Since the Games I have managed to get off all of the strong painkillers I was on before because learning to focus and the concentration of archery meant I could deal with the pain much better.

"Selection was much more competitive this time because so many people saw the Games last time and thought I want a piece of that! There were around 450 applications for 110 places in the UK team this time, so I feel very fortunate that I have been selected. I am really looking forward to it.

"This time I feel I will have a big advantage because I know what I am walking into. Some of the athletes will thrive and some of them will be like rabbits in the headlights. Everything is so much bigger than last time, especially with all of the media attention.

"There is a lot more to the Games than winning medals though. It is about being part of a team and also seeing people being put back together again and thriving through adversity. Invictus isn’t about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do."

Andy suffered a spinal injury during the 1990 Gulf War which eventually led to his medical discharge from the RAF in 1993. He is an occasional wheelchair user and has been supported by the RAF Benevolent Fund with grants to help with the costs of competing in archery competitions.

 

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