Army veteran Kelly Ganfield, who trains at the University of Bath, says it is “an honour and privilege’ to be selected to represent the UK at her second Invictus Games.
Ganfield, who works with Team Bath strength and conditioning coach George Studd and sprint guide runner Mikail Huggins at the Sports Training Village, is in a 72-strong team of wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans heading to the 2018 Games in Sydney, Australia.
Selection followed trials staged last month at the University of Bath, attended by Invictus Games Foundation Patron Prince Harry and fiancée Meghan Markle, and the UK team were joined by Prime Minister Theresa May for Tuesday’s official squad announcement at Horse Guards Parade in London.
Ganfield, who is visually impaired after suffering two strokes due to a rare blood condition called antiphosphilipid syndrome, will compete in the 100m, 200m and long jump, as well as indoor rowing. It will be her second experience of the Games, having competed in Toronto, Canada, last year.
“It is an honour and privilege to represent my country again,” she said. “This process has given me an insight into what I can do, what can be achieved, and I feel I have a lot more to give.
“My recovery journey is focused around finding a new identity and confidence, accepting my disabilities, inspiring others and moving forward to take on new challenges. I lost my career but I need something beneficial to fill that void.
“I want to use my journey as a platform to raise awareness of visual impairment, brain injuries and hidden disabilities. I want to become more confident and share my story to inspire others.”
Ganfield is an ambassador for Blind Veterans UK and, during last month’s trials, gave Prince Harry and Ms Markle a sense of her disability after inviting them to wear a special pair of glasses that illustrate how restricted her vision is.
“I was absolutely gobsmacked when they tried them on,” she said. “Prince Harry said it was incredible that I could run the way that I do with the vision that I have. He remembered that I row as well and said ‘you row like hell for a little person!’ Meghan tried them on too and said it was pretty amazing to do what I do with the vision I have.”
Invictus Games Sydney are taking place from October 20-27.
Courtesy of the Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight