Sarah Sliwka had just claimed gold at the Invictus Games when her partner pulled off a beautiful surprise in the medal ceremony.
Sliwka claimed not only her first Invictus gold medal on Wednesday but the first for the Australian power lifting team.
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And as if the joy of winning gold wasn’t enough, she was tipped over the edge when her partner presented her with the medal.
“I actually wasn’t expecting it,” Sliwka told AAP following partner Bryce Cleary awarding her the gold.
“Having a family or a close friend do that just makes it a little bit more special.”
Swilka, who won two silver medals at last year’s Invictus Games, said competing was her way of not only representing her country but remembering her service.
“Having my time cut in the military due to medical reasons this is just another way that I can feel like I’m part of the army again,” she said.
Originally from Broken Hill in outback NSW, Sliwka joined the Australian Army in 2002.
She worked us a linesman with the Royal Australian Corps of Signals and with the Australian Federation Guard.
She was medically discharged in 2006 after suffering a lower back injury and curved spine as well as broken bones in her right arm, snapped ligaments in her ankle and a strained Achillies tendon.
Now Brisbane based, she said her coaches Brian Heilbronn from the Australian team and Josh Tait of Eastside Barbell have been her rocks in keeping her going.
She says the Invictus Games has allowed her and other athletes to show the world what they can achieve.
“There are people here who have some really serious injuries and you can’t see anything more inspiring than watching these athletes compete by winning and smashing their times,” she said.
“Just seeing how they adapt to the sport just makes you think we’re all so capable of doing more than we think we can.”
If one sport wasn’t enough, Sliwka has also made the swimming finals and will compete for gold on Wednesday night.
Last night Australians Nikki Bradley and Alexi Vlahos won silver and bronze in the women’s power lifting.