Prince Harry, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, today officially launched the 500 day countdown to the fourth Invictus Games which will take place in Sydney from 20-27 October 2018.
His visit was a chance for Prince Harry to learn about the preparations already underway as well as spend time meeting members of the Australian squad hoping to be selected for this year’s Invictus Games in Toronto and their families.
In just 500 days time, over 500 competitors from 18 nations will compete in 10 adaptive sports events. The events will be staged across Greater Sydney, including Sydney Olympic Park and on and around Sydney Harbour. Invictus Games Sydney 2018 today also announced that sailing had been added to the roster of sports.
Prince Harry first attended a launch ceremony at Admiralty House hosted by Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove, where he joined dignitaries including Prime Minister Turnbull, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the Chair of Invictus Games Sydney 2018, Lt Gen Peter Leahy (Ret’d). He then joined a reception attended by members of the Australian Invictus Games squad and their families where they shared how their preparations for Invictus Games Toronto 2017 are going.
In a speech given at Admiralty House, Prince Harry explained: "Sydney will soon be the custodian of the Invictus spirit and the focus for hundreds of men and women using the Invictus Games to motivate their recovery from physical and mental injuries. I know that people across the country – from Perth to Sydney and Darwin to Adelaide – will embrace the Invictus Games and show their support for competitors from their local towns and right around the country.
“I have no doubt that the Sydney public will make these games their own. I can promise that when they do, they will witness the very best of human spirit – courage, inspiration and defiance – on the track, on the court and in the pool. The Invictus Games shows us that it is possible to overcome adversity, and that the impossible is possible, if you have the will.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull explained: “Today we best honour the diggers of a century ago by supporting the servicemen and women, the veterans and their families of today. We are providing comprehensive support for our veterans to support them in a successful return to civilian life. The Invictus Games are another great opportunity for the whole community to show our veterans, and those who serve today, that their nation and their community is behind them and will support them every step of the way as they recover from the injuries of war and as they go on to lead and succeed in civilian life.”
Governor General and Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Ambassador Sir Peter Cosgrove said: “The Invictus Games provides an important platform to recognise those who serve our country, both on active duty and veterans; and to be inspired by their spirit to have a go and rise above physical and mental challenges. The Invictus Games in Sydney will acknowledge the vital role played by family and friends who give love and support to help guide the rehabilitation and recovery of our wounded, injured and ill competitors – from the frontline to the finish line.”
2014 and 2016 Invictus Games competitor, Curtis McGrath, said it will be an event to remember: “At the Invictus Games you will witness people overcoming their injuries and adversities to achieve sporting greatness and get their competitive drive back. It is something very special and the Invictus Games raises awareness and helps people understand what we have been through. The event also supports the networks that support us to rehabilitate. I am very proud and excited to be an Ambassador for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 cause.”
Following the launch at Admiralty House, Prince Harry took to the water to observe a demonstration of sailing in around the iconic Sydney Harbour and met veterans who have used the sport to help with their recovery. He then made his way to the Ocean Passenger Terminal where he watched demonstrations of a range of Invictus Games sports, including sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
The Invictus Games is the only international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, both serving and veterans. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for our armed forces around the world. The inaugural Invictus Games took place in London in 2014, followed by Orlando in 2016. Toronto will host the third Invictus Games from 23-30 September 2017 and will welcome over 550 competitors from 17 nations. Tickets for the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 will go on sale on 15 June and can be purchased from www.invictusgames2017.com.
For more information on the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 please visit www.invictusgames2018.org.