Nicki is an athlete I’ve been assisting with her preparation for the Invictus Games. Unlike other members of the team she is relatively isolated down in Dunedin and doesn’t have other team members in close proximity to assist her and bounce ideas off. As she doesn’t live anywhere near a military base she has had to arrange all her own training venues and local support. Without any facts to support it, I suspect Nicki could potentially be the athlete that travels the furtherest to the Invictus Games and maybe is also the southern most of all the Invictus athletes as well.
Nicki along with her team mate Jules will be helping me write a daily report from the Team Concentration and our time together in Toronto at the Games. These will be published daily at 7pm (NZ time).
QK: The Invictus Games are a paralympic type sporting event that Prince Harry established for wounded, ill or injured service personnel and veterans. Although there are medals available, the emphasis is on the rehabilitation journey that the athletes go through to get them to the games and beyond.
What is your service background and history?
NF: I was in the RNZAF as a Chef, till the Government decided the RNZAF did not need Chefs any more – 1988 to 1991. I re-joined the RNZN as a Medic 2006 to 2008 and did my Medic training in the NZ Army, Burnham.
QK: What are the big challenges that you have overcome to get you to this point in your career and into the games?
NF: I suffered a severe closed head injury and collapsed lung with my accident. Both changed my life and are still ongoing to this day, with negative affects. There are good days and bad days. I focus on the good. I look for the good in everything. If I cannot do that, I look for the good in that moment, second etc.
QK: Have you been to the games previously?
NF: These are my first games.
QK: What events are you competing in at the 2017 Games?
NF: Archery, Indoor Rowing and Swimming.
QK: What most excites you about being in Toronto for the games?
NF: Meeting other people from around the world who have overcome obstacles just to be there and are getting inspiration from each other. I hope to find some inspiration and make new friends who, ‘get it’.
QK: You have no doubt got a wealth of supportive family, friends and work colleagues. Are there any in particular that you would like to acknowledge for their support and assistance?
NF: My family have been through a lot with my injury and I would not be here today, if it were not for their love and support.
Thanks to the Dunedin Archery Club for coaching and helping me, especially Pam, Ivan, Steve and Annmarie.
Also Dunedin RSA.
QK: What is a quote that keeps you motivated and inspired to achieve?
NF: “You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West.
QK: I can’t wait to catch up with you in Auckland for the team concentration before we depart to Canada. I’m really excited to be there with you guiding you through the competition period.
All photos courtesy of the New Zealand Defence Force