Prince Harry is a hero to and admirer of the British military; following a visit to the US Warrior Games in 2013 the Prince was inspired to create the Invictus Games for wounded service men and women in London in 2014. Beginning on May 8th this year the second games are being held in Orlando- Florida, 500 competitors from 15 nations: Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America will compete. The ten 10 competitive events included are archery, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
The Invictus Games Foundation, chaired by Sir Keith Mills GBE, former deputy chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, has been created to develop and pursue the event’s legacy. The Patron Prince Harry, unveiled the British team at Buckingham Palace; more than 180 wounded, injured and sick personnel and veterans tried out, using the facilities at Bath University, for one of the 110 places available on the UK team. The selection process was based on the benefit the Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training. The inaugural games confirmed the benefit of getting involved in sport, helping veterans renew self-confidence and feeling psychologically empowered, the significant physical and mental health benefits can be translated outside of sport and into everyday life.
The Invictus Games Foundation, chaired by Sir Keith Mills GBE, former deputy chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, has been created to develop and pursue the event’s legacy.
Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence, said “I wish all those taking part in the trials the best of luck. Having made great sacrifices while protecting their country, they are rising to a new challenge with strength and determination. The Invictus Games will provide inspiration and opportunity and will demonstrate the importance of sport in the recovery process.”
The 2016 UK team captain is former Army Captain David Wiseman, shot in 2009 by the enemy in Helmand Province, when commanding a small British Infantry team embedded within the Afghan National Army in Nad-e Ali district. A bullet entered his shoulder, travelled the length of his torso and hit his ribs. The bullet came to rest in his right lung, where it resides to this day. Capt Wiseman was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2012, a condition which is now manageable but still a part of his day-to-day life. Captain Wiseman said “I think the Invictus Games is a shining example of what this community can achieve, a group of individuals from around the world coming together in order to show everyone that beyond injury, they can achieve the extraordinary.”
The Opening Ceremony will be a star studded occasion with Michelle Obama expected to take to the stage; James Blunt, singer and former Officer in the Life Guards serving in the Kosovo Conflict of 1999 will perform and Laura Wright will sing her own composition “Invisible” accompanied by a chorus from the US military.
The UK delegation to the 2016 Games 2016 is being delivered by a partnership comprising the Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes, and the Royal British Legion.