Prince Harry launches Invictus Games to recognise 'sacrifice' made by injured servicemen
06 MARCH 2014SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
Prince Harry has launched a Paralympic-style sporting event for injured servicemen and women — the Invictus Games.
The athletic royal, who quit his job as an Army Air Corp helicopter pilot earlier this year, has been planning to host the Olympics style championship for some months now, and on Thursday morning, Harry could finally announce details of his sporting project.
The prince, 29, came up with the idea for the games after attending the US version, the Warrior Games, in Colorado last year.
Addressing press at the Copper Box Arena in London — a multi-sport venue that was used during the 2012 Olympics — Harry joked that the US competition was "such a good idea by the Americans that it had to be stolen."
Wearing army uniform and standing on stage, Harry spoke about the importance of recognising "the sacrifices" servicemen and women had made for their country.
"I have witnessed firsthand how the power of sport can positively impact the lives of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women in their journey of recovery," said Harry.
"The Invictus Games will focus on what they can achieve post-injury and celebrate their fighting spirit through an inclusive sporting competition that recognises the sacrifice they have made.
"I am extremely proud to be bringing an event like this to the UK for the first time and believe it can have a long-lasting impact on the well-being of those who have served their nations so bravely."
After delivering his inspiring speech, Harry couldn't resist getting in on the action as he competed in a sitting volleyball match alongside wounded personnel.
The fourth-in-line to the throne was pictured throwing the ball over the net, cheering players on from the side and giving them the thumbs up. Harry then chatted to a group of wheelchair basketball players before their match.
Other high-profile supporters of the project who also gave speeches at the launch included mayor of London Boris Johnson, defence secretary Philip Hammond and chairman of the organising committee Sir Keith Mills.
The Invictus Games will take place from 10 to 14 September and see 300 competitors from around the world take part in events, which could include shooting, sitting volleyball, track and field and wheelchair basketball — in keeping with the Warrior Games.
The aim of Harry's project is to encourage wounded servicemen to stay physically active when they return to their local communities and to introduce them to sporting challenges on a Paralympic level.