Invictus Games competitor Paul Guest at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre
Invictus Games competitor Paul Guest at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre

Distressed Invictus athlete breaks down

AN Invictus Games crowd has been brought to tears by the heartwarming response to one athlete's distressing break down.

English mine warfare specialist Paul Guest was left visibly upset when a helicopter was heard flying nearby the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre during his wheelchair tennis doubles match.

The 54-year-old toured Northern Ireland for the English Armed Forces before he was injured on active duty in 1987.

The Navy serviceman suffered injuries to his neck and spine during the incident, resulting in partial deafness and a visibility impairment and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Edwin Vermetten consoles Paul Guest in the Wheelchair Tennis Open Doubles on day three of The Games.
Edwin Vermetten consoles Paul Guest in the Wheelchair Tennis Open Doubles on day three of The Games.

Before receiving the care he needed, Guest attempted suicide four times following his medical discharge from the Armed Forces.

It all came back to him in one traumatic moment at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre when the helicopter could be heard nearby.

Guest was unable to continue his service game while overcome with hurt.

He was comforted by Dutch teammate Edwin Vermetten, who immediately saw his teammate was suffering and tried to comfort him in an incredible moment that has come to signify everything the Games stands for.

Paul Guest also competed in the IHB1 Men's Road Cycling Time Trial.
Paul Guest also competed in the IHB1 Men's Road Cycling Time Trial.

Vermetten's emotional support left the crowd in tears as the pair shared a lengthy conversation near the back wall of their court before Guest was eventually able to recover.

Incredibly, the pair recovered and went on to win their match in a third set tiebreak.

Vermetten revealed after the emotional win that he was able to console his teammate in a moment of raw hurt by singing together.

He described the moment he and Guest sang popular Disney movie anthem "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen as an important moment for the Englishman's ongoing recovery.

"I took him by the face and said 'Look at me. We are a team so let it go,'" Vermetten said, according to the Invictus Games website.

"Look into my eyes and sing the Frozen song, and we did.

"For him, this was the moment he let go, and he did, he literally let it all go."

Guest also competed at the 2017 Invictus Games in Canada, where he shared his incredible recovery to become a poster boy for the Invictus Games movement.

"On the fourth occasion when I tried to commit suicide, my wife literally dragged me off to get help," he said, according to The Clacton Gazette.

"She contacted Help for Heroes (a charity organisation that provides support for servicemen and service women and their families), I became a Band of Brother and the rest is history.

"The Invictus Games has given me something to aim for. Pulling on the Invictus Games uniform is like pulling on my Navy uniform.

"I feel part of a team again, like I belong. I'm proud to be representing my country once again.

"Without Help for Heroes and without the goal of the Invictus Games I honestly wouldn't be here today. I recently lost a good friend of mine called Michael. He sadly took his own life recently and I promised at his graveside I would never give up."

His emotional recovery at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre shows he was telling no lie.



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