Luke Sinnott of Team United Kingdom competed in four track events in athletics, winning medals in three. Competing in the back-to-back events, he won silver in the 100-metre sprint, gold in the 200-metre sprint and 400-metre sprint.
These are not Luke’s first Invictus Games. He also competed in Orlando last year and hopes to compete in the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia, next year.
He describes his experience at the Invictus Games in Toronto, “They have been great. It is nice to see Toronto. I love the hotel and the people are very friendly. Up to now, it is probably one of my favourite experiences.”
When asked what it was like to compete in four back-to-back events in a single day, Luke said, “It has been quite intense. Lots of races, heats and medal ceremonies. It has been a real test.” Comparing these events to the track events he competed in in Orlando last year, he said that there were no heats in Orlando.
Along with athletics, Luke also competed in wheelchair tennis in Orlando. He would have competed in wheelchair tennis again this year in Toronto, but the athletics competitions were held at the same time.
Competing in multiple athletics events, Luke has had to adapt his training for each race. “I had to learn how to run on bends,” he said. “I have never run the 200-metre before. I have never run a bend before. It’s a very hard thing to learn.”
When Luke crossed the finish line in the 200-metre sprint, he describes his initial feeling of absolute relief. “I felt a lot of pressure. I thought there was a chance that I could lose this,” he said. Prior to the 200, Luke won a silver medal in the 100-metre sprint, but he really wanted to win gold in the 200-metre sprint. And that he did. “I was really focused on that medal. As soon as I crossed that line, it was absolute relief. After I had done it, I felt immense pride,” he said.
Before coming to the Games, Luke promised himself that if he won gold, he would give the medal to the family of his friend corporal David Barnsdale. “David and I served together in Afghanistan. In 2010, he was killed right in front of me. Over the years I have gotten to know his family so well. We have done things to remember David,” he said.
Giving a medal to the Barnsdale family provided Luc with the extra drive to win. “I wanted to do that and give the medal to his parents and hopefully draw attention to all the guys that did not make it back. We remember these guys every day,” he said. Luke plans to meet with his friend’s family and present them with his medal when he gets back to the United Kingdom.
Despite winning two gold medals and one silver, he says he isn’t done. “That’s my mountain to climb — to get a gold in the 100 metres. That is my goal.”
Now that he is finished with his events, Luc wants to make the most of his time during the rest of the Games. He plans on attending several other competitions to cheer on his fellow UK teammates as well as competitors from the other nations. He plans on attending sitting volleyball, indoor rowing and swimming.
Luke shared some advice for fellow veterans who are planning on competing in adaptive sports: “You’ve got to love what you do. Go out there and make the most of all the opportunities that you have. Find the one that drives you and gets you out of bed in the morning, and hold on to it.”