Prince Harry hosts opening ceremony of inspirational games for 'wounded warriors'
The Opening Ceremony of the first ever Invictus Games took place this evening, marking the start of the highly anticipated international sports competition for ‘wounded warriors’ in London.
Watching in the stand was Prince Harry who launched the event in March this year. Alongside him were the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Cambridge. 6,500 people gathered on the South Lawn of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the military-themed ceremony also broadcast live on BBC’s The One Show.
A parade of all 416 athletes taking part in nine sports over coming days followed, with competitors from Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Georgia, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA. The 130-strong British Armed Forces team entered last to rapturous applause from the crowd. There was also a fly-past by helicopters, a rifle demonstration by the Queen’s Colour Squadron and displays by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of the Invictus Games Organising Committee, said: "This evening we welcome the competitors and their friends and families from 13 countries. Over the next few days we will experience some fantastic support from some extraordinary competitors. I wish them the very best of luck. Preparing for any major sports competition can be really tough, but the journey that these guys have travelled in recent months and years to simply be here tonight has been truly amazing. When Prince Harry conceived the Invictus Games he hoped they would be an inspiration for all those that had been wounded, injured and become sick whilst serving their countries – I have no doubt these Games will achieve that and much more. They will inspire the tens of thousands of spectators in the stadiums this week in London. They will inspire the millions around the world that will watch these Games on television or online and they will inspire all those in the armed forces around the world that serve their countries so that we may be safe.
Image thanks to Invictus Games 2014