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Watch: Prince Harry’s Invictus Games postponed for a second year
Prince Harry has confirmed the Invictus Games will have to be postponed again because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
Harry, 36, set up the Invictus Games for injured, wounded and sick service personnel while he was a senior royal and it has been held in several countries including the UK and Canada.
The latest event was due to take place in 2020 in The Hague, Netherlands, but was postponed until May 2021 when the pandemic took hold.
However the organisers’ hopes of being able to run the games this Spring have also been dashed, with the global situation still too fraught for it to go ahead.
The event will now take place in 2022.
A statement from Prince Harry, as well as Mart de Kruif, chairman of the 2020 games, and Sir Keith Mills, chairman of the foundation, said: “We are Invictus: from the communities that host and cherish the Games, and the competitors who display unshakeable resilience and commitment as they prepare for and participate in the Games, to the families and network of supporters who support these men and women on their journey to competition.
“For so many around the world, the Invictus community included, COVID-19 has changed our expectations, hopes, and plans.
“But our unwavering mission is one bound by resilience and community—and that mission will continue to shine through between now and Spring 2022, when we hope to see everybody in person again in The Hague.
“For now, we are planning programming, opportunities to connect safely during the foreseeable future, and ways to infuse the spirit of Invictus in your own communities over the coming year. We’re excited to share more soon.”
Harry also appeared in a video that featured some of the athletes who would have been competing in the event, to thank key workers for continuing during the pandemic, and to inspire the service personnel in their training.
He said: “To the key workers on the frontline, in the battle against the pandemic,” before being joined by others to add “we are with you”.
He was joined by friend and Strictly Come Dancing competitor JJ Chalmers.
Chalmers, who got a surprise message on the BBC show from the royal during the last series, tweeted the video with the message: “The wait continues, but one day we will be back, no doubt stronger than ever. As enduring hardship is what we do and what made us #Invictus!
“So, Continue to train and prepare. Continue to look after yourselves, your families and each other.”
The dates for the 2022 event have not yet been set.
Wouter Bakker, captain of the Dutch Invictus Games team, said: “Given the current corona situation, the news comes as no surprise.
“A digital variant or organising the event without an audience would not feel like an Invictus Games to me and does not do justice to the spirit of the Games. I, as well as my teammates, think that moving the event to the Spring of 2022 is the best decision.
“This will end the uncertainty that all participants are in and we can properly prepare and focus on next year.”
Harry remains a patron of the Invictus Games, following his decision to step back as a senior member of the Royal Family last year.
He is no longer using his ‘HRH’ styling, but is still known as the Duke of Sussex.
The games have been an important part of Harry’s work, affirming his commitment to work among the Armed Forces, with whom he served for several years.
The event in Toronto, Canada, in 2017, was also his first appearance with his then-girlfriend Meghan Markle.
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