Invictus Games veteran competes in powerlifting, sitting volleyball, rowing and swimming

Taryn Barbara is no stranger to hard work.

The mum-of-two was medically discharged after 14 years in the Australian Defence Force and went on to win gold and silver for Australia at the Invictus Games in Sydney four years ago.

Now she’s aiming higher, putting her hand up to compete in powerlifting, sitting volleyball, rowing and swimming in the 2022 games in The Hague.

She admitted she wasn’t “entirely sure” what she was thinking in choosing to compete in four different sports.

But participating in the Invictus Games has helped her adapt to civilian life.

“It’s definitely been a really tough road since I’ve left,” Ms Barbara said.

Three people reaching to grab a volleyball. They are using wheelchairs.
Taryn Barbara playing basketball.(



Injuries to medals

Ms Barbara joined the military straight after high school, but she was medically discharged after an accident on a training course left her with back and hip injuries.

While she tried to persevere with her service, it became untenable.

“I tried to battle through, but it just didn’t work out for me,” she said.

Ms Barbara brought home a gold medal in the 50m freestyle, as well as silver medals for the 100m freestyle and Australian relay from the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney.

It was an experience she was able to share with her daughters.

During her service, Ms Barbara assisted in a range of humanitarian operations, such as assisting with floods in Queensland.

Now Brisbane based, she spent 11 years growing up in Rockhampton and has fond memories of learning to swim and playing netball.

She only recently took up the sports she’s competing in at the games.

“I was a little bit shy to give everything else a go, but definitely the second time around I thought I’ll spread my wings a little bit and give a few more things a go,” she said.

Ms Barbara hasn’t ruled out participating in the Invictus Games’ Netflix series.

“Prince Harry is very passionate about veterans, so I think it’s great,” she said.

A woman with blonde hair sits down. There is a weight in front of her, and a ball at her foot.
Taryn Barbara will compete in four different sports at in the Invictus Games at The Hague.(

Supplied: Australian Defence Force


The Invictus Games describes the event as using the “power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women”.

On the Invictus Games website, Prince Harry describes the games as spotlighting the “‘unconquerable” character of servicemen and women, their families and the ‘Invictus’ spirit.

The Invictus Games was postponed in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic but is scheduled to go ahead in The Hague next year.

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