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Kiwi Invictus team performs emotional haka in honour of wheelchair rugby player

Invictus Games athletes perform an emotional haka in honour of a wheelchair rugby player

  • The entire performed a rousing haka to momentarily stop awards proceedings
  • Nepata played every second of his team’s games after a teammate dropped out
  • He was also given a guard of honour by his opponents in a match on Wednesday
  • They gave him the ball and helped him across the try line to celebrate his efforts

New Zealand’s Invictus Games team performed an impromptu haka for wheelchair rugby player George Nepata after he took home the Exceptional Performance Award at the closing ceremony in Sydney.

The Kiwi team momentarily stopped the awards proceedings during an emotional display for Nepata as he left the stage.

Nepata could be seen high-fiving members of the Australian and Canadian teams as he made his way through the crowd following his award.

The emotional performance came after a touching moment in a wheelchair rugby pool game between Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday.

With the Aussies cruising to victory, Nepata, who is quadraplegic and paralysed from the neck down, was handed the ball by opponent Davin Bretherton and helped across the try line.

 The Kiwi team momentarily stopped the awards proceedings by performing the ritual for Nepata as he was wheeled from the stage

The emotional performance came after a touching moment in a wheelchair rugby pool game between Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday

The emotional performance came after a touching moment in a wheelchair rugby pool game between Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday

His teammate’s tribute on Sunday night was also partially in honour of Nepata playing every second of his team’s five round-robin games. 

He dug in to stay on the court despite his disability after a player dropped out and left the Kiwis shorthanded.

Speaking after the game, Nepata said: ‘It was a very humbling experience and I will never forget it.

‘It took me by surprise, I just do my role out on the court and then out of nowhere all I could feel was everyone come up behind me and push me toward the goal line… it was awesome.’

New Zealand's Invictus Games team performed a seemingly impromptu rendition of the Haka for wheelchair rugby player George Nepata after he took home the Exceptional Performance Award at the closing ceremony in Sydney

New Zealand’s Invictus Games team performed a seemingly impromptu rendition of the Haka for wheelchair rugby player George Nepata after he took home the Exceptional Performance Award at the closing ceremony in Sydney

With the Aussies cruising to victory, Nepata, who is quadraplegic and paralysed from the neck down, was handed the ball by opponent Davin Bretherton and helped across the try line

With the Aussies cruising to victory, Nepata, who is quadraplegic and paralysed from the neck down, was handed the ball by opponent Davin Bretherton and helped across the try line

Nepata suffered his injuries after being dropped from a stretcher during an obstacle course exercise in Singapore in 1989 – smashing his vertabrae. 

The awards came after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle addressed the packed ceremony to thank organisers and athletes for their efforts.

It is their last engagement in Australia before heading to New Zealand on Sunday morning

The awards came after Prince Harry (pictured) and his pregnant wife Meghan Markle addressed the packed ceremony to thank organisers and athletes for their efforts

The awards came after Prince Harry (pictured) and his pregnant wife Meghan Markle addressed the packed ceremony to thank organisers and athletes for their efforts

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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