Naomi Fong is getting ready to head to Australia for the 2018 Invictus Games, which will be held in Sydney from Oct. 20 to 27. The former Bombardier is helping fund her trip by selling bracelets and greeting cards that she created herself. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Pembroke resident Naomi Fong heading to Invictus Games
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday October 4, 2018
Naomi Fong is one of three local athletes heading to Sydney, Australia to compete in the 2018 Invictus Games.
The Games are known globally for using the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and ill veterans and military members. They strive to create a sense of belonging and purpose, encouraging people to embrace wounded warriors.
“The Invictus Games represent the important journey of healing through sport and coming together in community and supporting each other,” said Fong, a former Bombardier.
This year, the games will be held from Oct. 20 to 27. His Royal Highness, the Duke of Sussex Prince Harry will once more be in attendance along with his new wife Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle.
Birds of Tokyo and Grammy-nominated Artist Aloe Blacc will be performing at the closing ceremonies.
Fong is excited to have been chosen to go. She has been using sports as a way to heal from some past pain.
Now retired from the Canadian Armed Forces, the 32-year-old was left injured and traumatized after multiple assaults. She picked up the pieces, however, and on her road to healing she has built a new life for herself. Fong just completed a Social Service Worker diploma, and is soon to be competing on the world stage. She hopes that sharing her story will help others know that they have the courage and strength to move on from similar trauma. “Putting your health in the forefront helps with everything,” said Fong.
She found solace in sport. “I have always been physically active,” said Fong. “I like to feel strong and it helps.”
Like most of her teammates, her list of sports is long. Powerlifting, road biking, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball are her main interests. “It’s great to be involved in multiple sports communities,” said Fong.
Each of these sports has allowed her to become stronger, both mentally and physically. Powerlifting in particular helped her to reconnect to her inner strength, and though she hasn’t been able to train as much as she would like due to an injury, she still plans to compete. “Sometimes you need to listen to your body and make sure you rest and recover,” said Fong. “Right now, I still have time to train so I should bounce back.”
She has already attended two training camps with the rest of Team Canada, and she has set her sights on a personal best. The Invictus Games, however, isn’t all about the medals, she noted. “Everybody on the team is coming from some place of trauma and are going to a place of healing,” said Fong. “I think that is what is important, all the connections that we are making. We are very strong that way and supportive of each other.”
Her own family and friends have been incredibly supportive of her journey. Her husband David Galloway has been encouraging her in her training and will be traveling to Australia to be her personal cheerleader.
Though her training is well underway, getting to Australia is an expensive endeavour. Like most athletes, Fong is hoping to find sponsorship, and she has also created her own jewelry and greeting cards that she is selling online.
People can follow her journey on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/omwellnessandweights.