“Playing and training with The Owls has given me a great understanding of the game, which I hope I will be able to pass on to the Invictus guys”
The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’. Inspired by the words of the ‘Invictus’ poem by William Ernest Henley, who was himself an amputee, the 16 short lines encapsulate the indefatigable fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick service personnel, which is at the heart of the Invictus Games. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country.
Established in 2014 by the Duke of Sussex, the 4th annual Invictus Games is set to start with a bang on October 20th in Sydney, Australia, with 500 veterans from 18 Nations competing in 12 sports in the week-long event. One of the 82 wounded warriors representing Team UK is The Owls No.9, Richard Pullen. Richard has not only been selected to compete in the Wheelchair Basketball squad but he has the prestigious honour of Captaining the Team.
“Invictus is about the journey…”
51-year-old Richard has spent 15 years playing basketball with the Owls and was an Army craftsman up until 1989 when he lost his leg. Richard will make his Invictus debut for the team and hopes that his time spent with The Owls will help contribute to the success of the Invictus team. “Playing and training with The Owls has given me a great understanding of the game which I hope I will be able to pass on to the Invictus guys.” When asked about the difference between the Invictus Team and playing with The Owls Richard said; “Playing for Invictus is totally different to playing club basketball… Invictus is about the journey that the guys are on, which hopefully with my experiences both on and off court I can contribute to. Whereas, when I play for The Owls I’m playing a specific role within the game amongst great players.”
Team UK have a tough pool at this year’s Invictus Games including last year’s gold and silver medallists USA and The Netherlands. Richard will be looking to help the team improve on the bronze medal they won at last year games, whilst looking forward to having his family there to support him; “playing for Team UK in the first game in front of my family out here will be the best feeling ever.”
When reflecting back on his many years of experience with The Owls one of Richard’s highlights has been “getting to train, play and learn from some of the country’s greatest ever players.” Having been such a prominent and pivotal member of The Owls for so many years the team is very proud and honoured to see Richard captain Team UK on the world stage at the Invictus Games 2018.
If you’re interested in seeing Richard in action the schedule for the games is as follows (all in U.K time):
25 October 2018 23:55 – AUS v UK
26 October 2018 04:50 – UK v NED
26 October 23:30 – Semi-final 1 OR 27 October 00:40 – Semi-final 2
27 October 03:00 – BRONZE OR 27 October 04:10 – GOLD
To find out more about the Invictus Games click here.