Southern Telegraph - - News - Pierra Wil­lix

The only West Aus­tralian to don the green and gold in last week’s In­vic­tus Games, Wandi res­i­dent Mark Daniels, has walked away with a num­ber of wins from the para sport event for in­jured vet­er­ans and ac­tive ser­vice per­son­nel.

The 25-year-old com­peted in in­door row­ing, swim­ming, sit­ting vol­ley­ball and wheel­chair rugby, win­ning bronze in his in­door row­ing event and also be­ing part of the first Aus­tralian team to take away a medal in Wheel­chair Rugby, with a gold medal plac­ing.

Able Sea­man Daniels joined the Royal Aus­tralian Navy in 2012 and serves as a ma­rine tech­ni­cian, work­ing at bases in­clud­ing HMAS Stir­ling.

In 2015 his right leg was par­tially am­pu­tated af­ter he was knocked off his mo­tor­bike in Port Kennedy.

The ac­ci­dent left him with a split femoral artery, a bro­ken neck, 11 bro­ken ribs, a punc­tured lung, rup­tured kid­ney, a dam­aged heart and a bro­ken hand.

Since los­ing his leg, Daniels said he had been aim­ing to com­pete in the In­vic­tus Games.

“I had so many ideas of what it would be like but the real thing sur­passed ev­ery ex­pec­ta­tion that I pre­vi­ously had,” he said.

“Be­ing the only com­peti­tor cur­rently liv­ing in WA re­ally ramped up the pressure to per­form well while rep­re­sent­ing Aus­tralia for my side of the coun­try.”

Get­ting back into the gym four months af­ter his ac­ci­dent, Daniels said he bat­tled men­tal health is­sues but that par­tic­i­pa­tion in sport helped in his re­cov­ery.

Daniels said win­ning the bronze medal and hear­ing his name called out last week was “prob­a­bly the proud­est mo­ment” of his life.

“I’ve spent years train­ing hours a day just to prove I’m as good as ev­ery­one else, be­ing able to show the world that my dis­abil­ity doesn’t hold me back and thank ev­ery­one that has sup­ported me over the last few years,” he said.

“The In­vic­tus Games is so much more than just sport, it’s ev­ery­thing.

“It’s re­cov­ery, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, men­tal health aware­ness, mo­ti­va­tion and in­spi­ra­tion for those do­ing it tough and a way to hon­our those who didn’t get the chance to come home.”

Pic­ture: Justin Ben­son-Cooper

Mark Daniels was the only WA com­peti­tor in last week’s In­vic­tus Games.

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