Invictus Games Star Returns to SES Sports Centre
The former RAF medic from Rutland and Invictus Games gold medallist Rachel Williamson returns triumphant to her training centre at Stamford Endowed Schools’ Sports Centre. This was the venue for her interview with BBC East Midlands after returning from Sydney only twenty-four hours before.
Rachel Williamson has been training at the Schools’ Sports Centre since being selected for the Invictus Games earlier this year. She went on to win six medals during the event, which ran from 20-27 October, including two golds in indoor rowing, and three silvers and a bronze medal in swimming. Rachel spoke in depth about her journey since losing the use of her right arm from a rugby injury to her thumb, being medically discharged from the RAF in February, and receiving the support from her SSAFA mentor to encourage her to represent the UK at the Invictus Games.
The Invictus Games harnesses the power of sport to inspire recovery and for Rachel this has been extremely poignant. As a teenager, Rachel narrowly missed out on a place to swim in the Commonwealth Games and decided to give up the sport for good. With the encouragement of her mentor, Rachel pushed herself to the limit and learnt to swim with one arm; she started attending training camps, which eventually led to her selection for the Invictus Games. With such a huge achievement under her belt, this is only the start of Rachel’s sporting journey, and she has further aspirations for the future. Concurrently Rachel is developing her career at the new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall, where she has just started a new role enabling her to work with some of the doctors who helped her rehabilitation.
We will still be lucky enough to see Rachel at the SES Sports Centre as she continues to train with Stamford friend and Warrior Games competitor, Ali Waddie.
Rachel said: “Training at SES Sports Centre has given me the perfect environment, enabling me to train using high class facilities and allowing me to access the support from all staff. The Centre has provided routine to my training and ensured I can continue to improve my physical and mental health during my recovery journey.”