PRINCE’S IN­VIC­TUS PRIDE Harry: So let the (fun and) Games be­gin

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by FELIC­ITY CROSS

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

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