Prince Harry launches Team UK for Invictus Games The Hague 2020

Harry’s heroes: The Duke of Sussex unveils Britain’s first female Invictus Games captain and her team of 65 wounded veterans

  • Duke of Sussex launches UK’s team of injured and wounded military veterans and service personnel 
  • The 65 sportsmen and women will compete in the next Invictus Games from May 9 to 16 in The Hague
  • Harry was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013 
  • Inaugural games were in London in 2014, followed by Orlando in 2016, Toronto in 2017 and Sydney in 2018

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The Duke of Sussex today officially launched the team of injured and wounded military veterans and service personnel who will compete in the next Invictus Games.

A group of 65 sportsmen and women gathered together at the event at the Honourable Artillery Company in London after being selected for the Paralympics-style event, to compete in the Netherlands next year. 

Team UK also unveiled its first female captain, RAF veteran Rachel Williamson. She previously suffered a rugby injury, which developed into a functional neurological disorder, leaving her unable to use her arm completely.

The Duke of Sussex attends the Team UK launch for the Invictus Games at the Honourable Artillery Company in London today

Prince Harry poses with competitors as he attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020

Prince Harry at the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 today

Prince Harry poses with competitors as he attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 today

The Duke smiles as he attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games at the Honourable Artillery Company today

The Duke smiles as he attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games at the Honourable Artillery Company today

A group of 65 sportsmen and women have been selected for the Paralympics-style event and will compete next year

A group of 65 sportsmen and women have been selected for the Paralympics-style event and will compete next year 

The Duke of Sussex attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games

Harry smiles today as the team of wounded, injured and sick service personnel come together for the first time

Harry smiles today as the team of wounded, injured and sick service personnel come together for the first time

The Duke attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at the Honourable Artillery Company today

The Duke attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at the Honourable Artillery Company today

She said this year was an opportunity to ‘build’ a new version of herself and take the ‘final step’ to where she wants to be.

‘I’ve accepted my injury; learnt I can let my emotions go and not be embarrassed or afraid about asking for help. Now it’s time I raise the bar by trying new sports, being positive and happier with less excuses,’ she said.

The veteran described the Invictus Games ‘as an amazing opportunity through sport to regain that sense of pride which can be lost following the onset of mental or physical disabilities’.

The team will compete in nine sports from athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, power lifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.

The Duke attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at the Honourable Artillery Company today

The Duke attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at the Honourable Artillery Company today

At the launch, being staged in Central London this morning, the competitors gathered together for the first time

At the launch, being staged in Central London this morning, the competitors gathered together for the first time

The Duke of Sussex smiles at the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 in London this morning

Harry poses for a photo with competitors

The Duke of Sussex smiles at the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 in London this morning

Harry joins with the 65-strong team of wounded, injured and sick service personnel for the photocall in London today

Harry joins with the 65-strong team of wounded, injured and sick service personnel for the photocall in London today

The Duke poses with competitors today as he attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020

The Duke poses with competitors today as he attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 

The Duke poses for a photo today as he attends the launch of the team selected to represent the UK at the Invictus Games

The Duke poses for a photo today as he attends the launch of the team selected to represent the UK at the Invictus Games

Harry, pictured today, was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013

Harry, pictured today, was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013

Training will continue until May in various locations across the country as part of Help for Heroes’ extensive Sports Recovery programme and role to train and develop the team.

Hannah Lawton, of Help for Heroes and Chef de Mission for Team UK, said: ‘The 65 men and women selected to represent Team UK will not only gain a personal recovery benefit from taking part in the Games but they will hopefully inspire others suffering with life-changing injuries or illnesses that anything is possible.’

Harry staged the first Invictus Games in 2014, and last month celebrated the sporting event’s fifth anniversary describing the games as having changed society’s perception of disability and mental health.

At the celebration, the duke said the wounded servicemen, women and veterans who have competed in the past four games have not only saved their own lives, but those of others they have inspired.

Prince Harry poses with Invictus staff and competitors at a reception to celebrate the fifth Anniversary in London last month

Prince Harry poses with Invictus staff and competitors at a reception to celebrate the fifth Anniversary in London last month

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia, in October 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia, in October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan attend the Invictus Games together in Toronto, Canada, in September 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan attend the Invictus Games together in Toronto, Canada, in September 2017

Prince Harry and then first lady Michelle Obama meet the US team ahead of the Invictus Games in Orlando in May 2016

Prince Harry and then first lady Michelle Obama meet the US team ahead of the Invictus Games in Orlando in May 2016

Harry was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013 and seeing how injured American military personnel thrived on the challenge of taking part in competitive sports that aided their recovery.

He went on to stage the inaugural games in London’s Olympic Park in 2014, followed by Orlando in 2016, Toronto in 2017 and Sydney in 2018, with The Hague chosen for the 2020 event where 500 competitors will take part in 10 adaptive sports. 

Organisers have said that after 2020, Invictus will be staged every two years.

At the launch, the competitors gathered together for the first time – one of 19 national teams who will be taking part in the event from May 9 to 16 in The Hague.

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