Nigeria became the first African country to participate in the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf since it was instituted by Prince Harry in 2014 to honor wounded military men and women. This year attracted 500 participants from 21 countries. Invictus is a Latin word which means “undefeated” or “unconquerable”, and is associated with a poem Nelson Mandela often recited.
The Nigerian team did not only make a showing at this year’s event but they also proved their mettle, stretching it to earn the admiration of the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, as reported by the BBC.
The Duchess was always spotted with the Nigerian fans urging the team on to victory. The Duchess recently revealed that a genealogy test she recently conducted showed she is 43% Nigerian.
One of the Nigerian team members who etched his name in gold is 27-year-old Peacemaker Azuegbulam, who secured a gold medal in powerlifting within the 69kg category. He indicated that he takes a lot of pride in the achievement chalked in representing both his country and Africa, as well as the armed forces of Nigeria. He said he has received tons of congratulations from across the country, with many thanking him for bringing joy and pride to those who supported them.
He observed that many a time, people write off persons with disability, but, he is happy the platform has given him the opportunity to prove that ability can prevail over adversity. Azuegbulam sustained injuries while fighting Boko Haram as a serviceman in the Nigerian military. His leg was amputated as a result of the life-changing injury he picked up. According to him, Invictus has restored his self-esteem and confidence once more, knowing he is the first African to pick a medal in the event’s history.
Nigerian’s participation in this year’s event is a result of the pivotal role of Derrick Cobbinah, a British Army veteran advocating for former British soldiers in Ghana. His dedication garnered acknowledgment from Prince Harry, resulting in a 10-member Nigerian team participating in the event. Cobbinah’s initiative began two years prior, with the goal of making Nigeria the inaugural African nation to join the competition.