Catterick Garrison veteran to compete at Invictus Games

Seveci Navelinikoro is heading to the Invictus Games.

Having twice represented the UK at the Invictus Games, you might think multi-medallist Seveci Navelinikoro would take a third attempt in his stride.

But off to Toronto to do it all again this week, the army veteran admits he is feeling the nerves.

The 38-year-old, known as Nav, from Catterick Garrison, has been selected to compete in sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby, shot put and discus, at the international competition for wounded veterans.

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And with three Invictus medals at home already, the pressure is certainly on to continue to add to team GB’s medal haul.

I am looking forward to it but I am nervous right now,” said the dad-of-two, who is a Prince’s Trust assistant Team leader for Stockton Riverside College.

I have that butterflies in the stomach feeling as the days pass and it gets closer.”

As part of the UK team, Nav won silver and bronze medals in sitting volleyball and wheelchair rugby last year. And among the squad to bring home gold for sitting volleyball in 2014, his ambition this year is of course for the team to win back the gold.

However, more important to him than any medal is the knowledge that he will be helping to inspire others.

A former British soldier, Nav suffered a mild brain trauma, loss of hearing in one ear and extensive nerve damage to his lower back, left hip, knee and ankle when he was blown from his vehicle by an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2012.

As part of his rehabilitation programme, he said: “Sport has definitely kept me going. It gave me something to focus on and continues to be part of my day-to-day programme.”

Once a keen rugby player, his injuries left him thinking he could no longer play the game. But with support from the military and Help for Heroes he has found new ways to actively enjoy sport.

Describing being part of the 90-strong team chosen to represent the UK at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 as “a privilege” he said: “It’s not about the medals – though they are the icing on top – it is about inspiring other people to go out and give sport a try.

Physical activity can get you out of the house and get you out of that black hole.

It really helps in so many ways, mentally, physically and spiritually.”

For Nav, who now spends his days inspiring young people as part of Stockton Riverside College’s new Prince’s Trust Richmond Team, the games offer something for him to aim for.

And with his family by his side he said: “It helps me to show my kids that I can still do things, I can still be a dad and it shows them that nothing can stop you if you can get your head around it and just get on with things.”