Derbyshire officer selected for the Invictus Games
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Detective Sergeant Gareth Fuller has been selected for this year’s Invictus Games and will be competing in archery and table tennis.
Having recently celebrated his 50th birthday, Gareth will now be adding UK Team competitor to this year’s achievements and is hoping to bring back some medals from the competition in Dusseldorf.
He was initially named as one of several reserve competitors, but in June was approached to see if he would still like to be considered for the team. He jumped at the chance to compete and is now eagerly training for the event.
He added, “As soon as I got the call to say a place had become available, I was elated, excited and just relieved I would get to join the rest of Team UK. I’d continued to train on the chance that I may get called up, it’s still quite surreal. I cannot wait to get out there and compete!”
Gareth’s career began in the British Army, joining straight from school in 1989, and serving until 1996. Having been unable to join the police at the young age of 16, Gareth decided that he would learn a trade within the military and qualified as a surveyor.
During his service, Gareth conducted a tour of Bosnia in 1992, as well as completing postings in Canada, Germany, and Norway. He was medically discharged after developing compartmental syndrome in both legs, meaning his muscles and nerves were damaged beyond repair as a direct result of his training and service. However, his physical diagnosis didn’t stop him following his dream to finally join the police force, where he has worked for the last 21 years, enjoying a long and successful career.
Alongside his work, Gareth has been part of a local archery club since 2018 and was encouraged to apply for the Invictus Games through his friend.
Gareth continued, “My friend and I both applied for the 2020 games and went to the UK trials in Sheffield, thinking we would only be able to do archery. Little did we know we could try out for every other sport! We tried wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball which was great fun!
“I didn’t make the team for the games in 2020, but I was keen to carry on with my archery. When the training camps came along in late 2022, we thought we would go along again. I was always a good shot in the Army and archery takes me back to those days. When you’re on the line and it’s just you and your bow, it’s just calm and focus, with nothing else in the way.”
At the games in September, Gareth will be competing in both archery and table tennis. Alongside this, he’s still training for the wheelchair basketball team in case another position becomes available. He is also hopeful to compete in the cycling, as currently there is a timetable clash with archery, but this is subject to change.
He added, “Training for the games has been such a positive experience for me. In turn, it’s meant that I’ve created better relationships with my family, friends and colleagues. I just can’t wait to get out there and see what I can achieve!
“I am anxious about what to expect from the competition, but I know I will give it my all. Entering a sport such as table tennis has been a new experience and I’ve loved learning about it – we even have a family table out in the garden!
“The best bit of the journey so far has been all the friends I have made whilst attending the training camps. The camps have been useful in showing me how to utilise sport to manage daily stresses.”
In preparation for the games Gareth has been keeping to a strict training schedule. He trains most days, starting with an early morning bike ride.
Gareth added, “I ride for approximately an hour and do this at least five times a week. Road biking is another totally new experience and has taken a lot of getting used to. My injuries make cycling quite difficult as every pedal push can cause pain to my legs where I was operated on, but I still enjoy it and push through.
“Being selected to represent the UK is a major privilege and achievement for me. It has taken a lot of commitment and time having to attend many training camps at weekends, but it has been a great experience.
“During the training I have learnt a lot about my own health and the limits of which my body can cope, it’s helped me learn how to adapt to my injuries and become more resilient to new medical conditions.”
We look forward to supporting DS Fuller at the Invictus Games and can’t wait to see what he achieves whilst in Dusseldorf.