In the last of his blogs from the Invictus Games in Orlando, Cain Berry fills us in on all the news and behind the scenes action, including a gold medal for Great Britain.
Day 5. I AM Proud.
The final day of the Games, and all eyes were on tennis in the morning. The bronze medal match went as expected – the Dutch racing to the medal in quick time. Now it was our turn. Kev and the guys had their game plan, and they knew if they executed it they would have a great chance of gold. In their opponents, we faced an experienced ex-tour player in Glenn Barnes. Perhaps Barnes knew the challenge he and his partner faced, as he tried to use a few tricks to disrupt our team, but it clearly didn’t work. Alex and Andy dominated from the start and took gold with an impressive 6-1 win. And fully deserved it was. And so began interviews, lots of attention from the public, and of course, the medal ceremony – Prince Harry was there to show support and present our boys with gold.
The Games concluded with the final of the Wheelchair Basketball, in which the USA beat the UK (a silver medal for Andy to add to his gold on a very busy day for him!), followed by the closing ceremony. The ceremony had a carnival atmosphere which built throughout the night, peaking during another inspiring Prince Harry speech, followed by an awesome performance from Flo Rida. And so the curtain came down on an incredible week. It has been an amazing journey to be a part of, from the trials in Bath, to working with a great team and bunch of guys, helping them prepare; from simply being a part of an incredible movement, to seeing our guys take the medals. I AM proud.
Day 4. I AM ready for match day
The Wheelchair Tennis competition was back underway today, with Alex and Andy due to play the Dutch around 5.15pm. So in the morning, we went to support the UK (and Gus, of course!) in the pool. In sweltering conditions, the UK swimmers put in a fantastic performance, taking many medals and a couple of clean sweeps. If there was a medal table, I think Gus would be beating many countries – he closed off his account with a total of 3 golds and 3 silvers across 3 sports… and a fine performance with Luke in tennis, of course!
In the afternoon, we focussed on the upcoming semi-final. The tennis arena was prepared, the crowds were in and scene was set. The first semi was a quick affair, as NZ brushed aside USA. Now it was our turn. Both the orange of the Netherlands and the blue of the UK crowds were in good voice, creating a great atmosphere… but we had Kev! I think they could hear him at the athletics track.
Andy and Alex shot out of the blocks and raced to a 3-0 lead. Alex hardly missed, while Andy played a couple of great winners. The Dutch didn’t give up though and proved solid opponents. However, the boys brought it home comfortably with a 6-2 win, sending them into the final. An early night was needed, as the medal matches were due to start at 8am the following day. Time to hit the hay!