Prince Harry POSTPONES the Invictus Games: Duke of Sussex posts emotional video message saying he took ‘incredibly difficult decision’ to make ‘sensible and safe’ choice to push competition back to 2021
- Invictus Games founded by Harry was due to be held at The Hague next month
- Organisers say competition is now likely to be rescheduled to May or June 2021
- Harry said in Twitter video today: ‘I’m really sorry we couldn’t make this happen’
- Duke added that it was the ‘most sensible and the safest option for all of you’
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The Duke of Sussex announced today that the 2020 Invictus Games which was due to be held next month has been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Organisers said the competition founded by Prince Harry – due to take place at The Hague this year – was likely to be rescheduled to May or June 2021.
Harry said in an emotional video on Twitter: ‘I’m really sorry we couldn’t make this happen. This was an incredibly difficult decision for all of us to have to make.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9, which was their last event as senior royals
The 35-year-old added that it was the ‘most sensible and the safest option for all of you, for your families and everybody else involved in these games.’
‘I know how disappointed you all must be, this is a focus that so many of you need, I would encourage you to maintain that focus as best you can.’
Harry, who is currently in isolation with his wife Meghan and son Archie in Canada, added: ‘The good news is that you have an extra 12 months to get even fitter.’
The competition brings together current and former wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women from more than 20 countries.
The Duke of Sussex meets team members during the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at the Honourable Artillery Company in London last October
The Duke waves during a meeting with Team UK members in London on October 29 last year
Prince Harry, who served with the British military in Afghanistan, was set to travel to the Netherlands with the Duchess of Sussex to attend the event.
An Invictus Games Foundation spokesman said: ‘The decision was also taken in recognition of the anticipated strain on medical staff and the infrastructure required in dealing with the pandemic.
‘We did not wish to add to the complexity of the response, or increase the risk to those involved, by bringing together an international and potentially vulnerable audience.’
Organisers said they are ‘investigating all options to reschedule the Invictus Games, subject to the availability of key facilities and resources, to May or June 2021.’
Prince Harry poses with Invictus staff and competitors at a reception to celebrate the fifth anniversary in London in September 2019
Harry and Meghan at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Sydney in October 2018
They are the latest in a series of sporting events to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, including the Euro 2020 football championships.
Harry was in The Hague last year to mark one year until the games – and was presented with a romper suit for his then new-born son Archie.
The games would have been one of his first public appearances since he and his wife Meghan withdrew from royal duties.
The Netherlands has reported 2,460 coronavirus cases including 76 deaths.
Prince Harry and Meghan attend the Invictus Games 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
Harry was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013.
At the event he saw 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.
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