The Invictus Games are an event for injured veterans and currently serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces where they can celebrate their passion for sports, competition, and camaraderie. This year, however, the Canadian veteran with ties to Truro has been selected to represent Team Canada in the first event of the 2017 games, the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge.
Murgatroyd’s chosen sport in the Invictus Games is archery, however, he was one of 10 Invictus athletes recently chosen to go to Montebello, Que., to be assessed on their off-road driving abilities.
“We got a little bit of instruction on driving a Land Rover, did some off-road driving, and we were assessed on our skills and myself and one of my teammates were selected as representatives of Canada for the driving challenge,” Murgatroyd said. “I was really quite surprised, I didn’t expect to win it, and it’s thrilling, it really is.”
Murgatroyd still serves with the Canadian Forces as a recruiter, and has worked with the first battalion of the Nova Scotia Highlanders in Truro. Murgatroyd lived in Truro from 2013 until 2017, when he moved to Halifax. He is a left-leg amputee.
Murgatroyd’s partner for the event is Martine Duval of Gatineau, Que. The off-road driving challenge is based on skill, teamwork, and precision driving. Crossing some of the obstacles such as boulders requires one teammate to be outside the vehicle guiding the driver using hand signals while the driver manoeuvres the vehicle. Having trust in a teammate is just as important as in the military during the driving challenge.
The Invictus Games include 12 different sports for injured veterans and currently serving members. There are competitive sports such as wheelchair rugby, basketball, swimming and archery, among other Olympic sports.
While life in the Canadian Forces keeps members in shape, this is the first time Murgatroyd has taken part in competition.
“I’ve never competed in sports at all in my life, this is entirely new,” Murgatroyd said. “To compete at this level, essentially on a global scale is outstanding; what an opportunity to push past my own injuries and move forward to a new life.”
On Aug. 31, 2015, Murgatroyd was riding a motorcycle in Truro when he was struck by another vehicle. The injuries required his left leg be amputated above the knee. For him, the Invictus Games are invaluable for injured veterans and their families.
“It’s hugely important for people to know the games are taking place, to support the veterans, to support the forces,” Murgatroyd said. “Like I said, I’ve never competed in sports myself, but now I’m a member of Team Canada… that’s huge; I’m representing my country on the world stage in sports and athletics.”
The Invictus Games 2017 are taking place in Toronto, Sept. 23-30.