PRINCE HARRY ISSUES RARE STATEMENT AHEAD OF 2025 INVICTUS GAMES IN VANCOUVER

Prince Harry has issued a rare statement congratulating the competitors of next year's major sporting event - the Invictus Games 2025, confirming he is "excited" to see the "passionate" participants of the event, across all nations.

The Invictus Games was established by Prince Harry in 2014 and is an international sporting event for wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans. The inspiration for the Games came after Harry attended the Warrior Games in America in 2013, as well as the impact that his own deployment in Afghanistan had on him.

Referencing the upcoming Invictus Games, Prince Harry's statement said: "Congratulations to those selected for Team UK for our first-ever Winter Invictus Games in Vancouver Whistler next February.

"Team UK will join over 500 competitors from across 20 nations in this groundbreaking event that expands the range and profile of winter adaptive sports."

The statement went on to read: "These games present an incredible opportunity for our courageous service personnel and veterans to demonstrate their skills in new challenges like alpine skiing, snowboarding and skeleton, as well as providing a truly memorable experience for their families."

The Duke of Sussex also said he was "excited" to see the "passion, determination, and resilience" of all competitors.

Team UK is a 64-strong squad made up of 60 competitors and four reserves. The team captain is Stephen 'Hoops' Hooper, and this will be his second Invictus Games. Hoops served in the RAF and was diagnosed with PTSD before being medically discharged in 2021, and competing in the Dusseldorf Games in 2023.

The team includes people from all services and of different generations, some of whom are facing challenging physical and mental injuries sustained while serving the UK either at home or abroad.

They have a range of injuries including visual impairment, amputation, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD and mental health issues. They have also been selected on the benefit that training for or taking part in the games will aid in their recovery.

Stephen said: "I gained a lot from the whole Team UK experience last time around, I've gone from standing in the corner of a room and not talking to anybody, to finding my voice again."

In February, Prince Harry alongside his wife, Meghan Markle, attended the 'One Year to Go' event in Whistler and the couple met competitors at the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort.

Around 550 competitors from up to 25 nations will take part in events including sitting volleyball, swimming and wheelchair basketball. Winter sports such as alpine skiing, snowboarding and wheelchair curling will also be part of the competition for the first time, with the Duke trying out a few of these sports earlier in the year.

The first edition of the games was held in London in 2014, with subsequent competitions being held in the US, Canada, and Australia.

The event takes its name from the Latin word 'Invictus' which means 'unconquered' or 'undefeated'. Despite losing his titles and privileges once he left the Royal Family, Harry maintained a strong bond with the foundation, as well as being part of the Governing Board.

2024-07-10T11:09:10Z dg43tfdfdgfd