Invictus Team - Opening Ceremony Team Netherlands
First as a competitor,
now as a spectator

Maaike and Patrick are experiencing the Invictus Games for the second time.

Last year Patrick took part in the competitions in The Hague and was fully focused on the sport. This year he is enjoying everything at the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing and supporting the Dutch team as a spectator.

Maaike and Patrick live near Utrecht. The Invictus Games mean a lot to them. In 2022, the sports festival took place in the Dutch city of The Hague, which was like a home match for Patrick. He was a participant. “I completed various disciplines”, the Dutchman tells us. “I participated in indoor rowing, shot put and sitting volleyball”.

Experiencing the Invictus Games as a competitor was very special, he says. “It was a great experience. There is a special atmosphere there”. Also his wife Maaike experienced many emotional moments as a spectator. “I filled the role of a wife, and in such a case you are particularly thrilled. My husband was so focused on his sport that he hardly noticed the audience’s reactions”.

You see Maaike and Patrick from the Netherlandes

This was completely different now as a spectator here at the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing. “Now I experience the unique atmosphere and the whole range of emotions – from great happiness to deep emotion”, says Patrick. “The Invictus Games are not about medals. They are about joy, comradeship and team spirit. As a spectator, you often have real goose bumps”. “We both enjoy it”, adds Maaike.

It was only this morning that Patrick had a special emotional experience. Patrick and Maaike accompanied a friend in the Dutch team who took part in the 1,500m run. “I knew how hard it was for him. But he made it. I am so proud of him. It moved me to tears”, he explains. They will also watch their friend play wheelchair basketball – the competitions will start on Tuesday. He plays in the mixed team of German and Dutch players. And on Friday he will take part in archery, where he will of course be cheered on by Maaike and Patrick.

The couple is looking forward to the whole week in Düsseldorf. They have already done a few things. Eating in the old town. “And we’re also going window shopping on the Königsallee”, Maaike expresses happily.

Every morning they cycle the eleven kilometres from the guesthouse to the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA. “We want to see as much as possible and cheer on all the competitors”, says Patrick.

Author: Monika Hartjes