Kurt Ludke is a Lane Cove local and veteran who recently competed in the Invictus Games. Here is his story.
Switching the Australian Army uniform for a green and gold unitard, shorts and shirts. I served within the Australian Army for two decades and through injuries obtained over my service was awarded the privilege of serving in a different form; competing on the global stage as an athlete in the 2023 Invictus Games.
Launched in 2014, the ethos of the Invictus Games affords former and current serving members of the Defence Force to overcome their physical and mental struggles through the medium of sport and competition.
Often coined as Prince Harry’s games, over 500 competitors from 21 nations came together in Dusseldorf, Germany, to sweat, strain and recover in multiple modalities of sport.
I competed in Wheelchair Rugby, Powerlifting (Para-bench press) and Seated Volleyball. All these sports can accommodate varying levels of injuries, from missing limbs, spinal injuries, mental health woes and other struggles competitors live with in daily occurrence.
The Invictus Australian team absolutely crushed it, representing both themselves and the country well.
Many PB’s were achieved, and podium presentations were in abundance.
Personally, I was awarded a bronze medal in the Wheelchair Rugby in an intense back-and-forward battle with France.
The Volleyball team was beaten out in the quarter-finals, which was the furthest Australia had ever gotten in the history of the games.
But my strong passion in the competition was Powerlifting.
From a glass-half-full perspective, I wasn’t able to gain a podium, missing my aim for a 160kg press which would have secured me a bronze medal. However, a fellow Australian athlete won the spot and medal, edging my 150kg by one kilo to achieve a PB of 152kg. Australia still got onto the podium!!
Throughout the games, athletes are supported by a dedicated coaching team, a medical/ psychological team and, more importantly, our immediate family members. My wife Sophie and son Kai were there to watch me compete on a global stage, giving all I could for myself, my mates and my country once again.
Support for future games and initiatives is welcomed and can be directed through the Invictus Australia website. Donations from both a fiscal and business format do not just orientate around the games but provide outlets to all Australian Defence Force veterans in rehabilitation, support and social, sporting family events around our great country.
Thank you Kurt for sharing your story with In the Cove.
One of In the Cove’s most watched tik tok’s is Kurt’s hopscotch run on the amazing hopscotch grid that was in Burns Bay Reserve during lockdown – you can watch it here.
Kurt’s wife Sophie is a talented dancer and has a business where she supplies Christmas magic – you can read ITC’s story about Sophie here.