When Australian Defence Force veteran and Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub-Branch member, Peter Rudland, heads to Sydney to compete in the Invictus Games, he’ll be packing some new wheels for his rugby wheelchair and much-needed spare parts, thanks to Twin Towns.
Twin Towns provided sponsorship support for Peter, who Co-Captained the Australian Invictus Games team in Canada last year, where he won two gold medals.
The former 2 Commando soldier served in Cambodia, Iraq and Timor Leste before being injured in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2010.
Three Australians and one American died; Peter was amongst seven seriously injured. Thrown 35 metres on impact, Peter sustained multiple life-threatening and life-changing injuries, including a broken back, pelvis and knee.
When released from hospital, Peter says he was in a really bad place for a long time.
A few years later, Peter was introduced to the Warrior Games trials in Florida, a multi-sport event for injured US veterans.
A bike coach there asked if he had tried a recumbent bike, which allows the rider to lie down while pedalling.
“I went for a ride and it was just the perfect exercise,” said Peter.
“I was supposed to be gone for 10 minutes but I rode around the base for 40 minutes.”
Soon after, Peter was chosen to represent Australia at the 2016 Invictus Games.
“In my first race I was coming dead last – other cyclists were lapping me, but I couldn’t care less. I just had a huge grin on my face because I was doing something I could do all by myself.”
Twin Towns Board Director David Phillips said Peter is an inspiration to all he meets.
“Peter has faced years of rehabilitation but has let nothing stand in his way in pursuing his sporting dreams.
“Everyone at Twin Towns is behind him and his goal to replicate last year’s success at this year’s Invictus Games.
“The Board and I are proud to support him on behalf of our members in his endeavour to bring home the Gold.”
The Invictus Games takes place in Sydney from 20-27 October.