PRINCE’S INVICTUS PRIDE Harry: So let the (fun and) Games begin
PROUD Prince Harry has issued a rallying cry to his Team GB heroes as they get set to take the stage for the third Invictus Games.
A record number of competitors applied to join his British team for the tournament for wounded service personnel.
The 90-strong group line up alongside 460 other competitors from 17 nations for this year’s event, which begins on Saturday in Toronto, Canada.
But ahead of the seven-day tournament, Harry has urged his heroes to remember it’s not about the medals.
The ex-Army officer said: “Every single one of you are ambassadors for the Invictus Games. You guys have made an incredible journey to this point. This is a team effort so make the most of it. But please behave! This has never been about the medals, as you know.
“This is about bringing amazing people together, sharing experiences and literally watching lives change in front of you in the arena, outside in the pool, wherever it is.”
Harry created the games in 2014 to showcase the achievements of injured and wounded military personnel and veterans.
The competition, which takes its name from the Latin for “unconquered, undefeated”, is a Paralympic-style multi-sports event. It has previously been held in London and Orlando.
Among its success stories is war hero Lamin Manneh, 40, who will compete in sitting volleyball, rowing, shot put and discus.
Former Guardsman Lamin lost both legs and his left arm in an explosion in Afghanistan on New Year’s Eve 2010. He credits the Invictus Games with changing his life. He told the Daily Star Sunday: “I just love the Games! I’m not the fastest or strongest but to inspire people is everything. If they see I have no legs and one hand and they see me rowing they might think, ‘I can do that’.” Lamin, from Manchester, said Harry’s involvement goes beyond being its figurehead and founder. He added: “Prince Harry cares, he wants to be involved. The veterans eat together, sit together, and Harry is a part of that. That’s how he wants to be treated, like we all treat each other.” Team GB’s vice-captain, Army Major Dr Jennifer Warren, is a wheelchair user after a skiing accident in 2008. The mum-of-one came home from Orlando last year with nine medals. This year she takes part in wheelchair racing, hand cycling and swimming. Jen, 36, from Rugby, Warks, said: “For the Orlando Games, the main emotion was fear. This year is completely different. Orlando lit a spark in me that I’d forgotten was there.” She added: “The nice thing isn’t just what it’s done for me, but also my teammates. “We’re people who might have been sat at home, not working, now we all have jobs, are active. “Things like that for me are more important than the medals. “That’s the most priceless thing about the Games.” The Invictus Games begin on Saturday. Watch them on the BBC.
■ INSPIRED: Team GB’s Lamin and, below, Jen. Inset, Harry