THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Invictus Games competitors for wounded, injured and unwell service personnel and veterans opened Saturday evening within the Netherlands with a standing ovation and a tribute from Prince Harry for the Ukrainian crew members who left their war-torn nation to compete.
With Harry and his spouse Meghan within the entrance row for opening ceremony, opponents cheered for almost a minute because the Ukrainian crew waved their nation’s blue-and-yellow flag after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte welcomed them to the occasion that was delayed for 2 years by the coronavirus pandemic.
Harry based the Invictus Games to help the rehabilitation of injured or sick army service members and veterans by giving them the problem of competing in sports activities occasions just like the Paralympics.
Welcoming all opponents, Harry singled out the Ukrainian crew and their supporters.
“Your bravery in choosing to come and for being here tonight cannot be overstated,” he stated, a day after assembly the Ukrainians at a reception.
“You know, we stand with you. The world is united with you. And still you deserve more. And my hope is that these events, this event, creates the opportunity … of how we as a global community can better show up for you,” Harry added.
Meghan took to the stage earlier than Harry and launched him, saying: “I could not love and respect him more. And I know that all of you feel the same, because he is your fellow veteran, having served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and 10 years of military service.”
She known as Harry “the founder of the Invictus Games and the father to our two little ones, Archie and Lili.”
Earlier within the opening ceremony, the Dutch prime minister stated portraits of Invictus athletes which have been positioned round The Hague, town internet hosting this 12 months’s competitors, underscore the “resilience of fortitude in the face of adversity, of vulnerability and strength” of the opponents.
“These are your stories, your lifelines, and the events unfolding now in Ukraine make them resonate even more. I’d like to extend a special welcome to the Ukrainian team,” he stated as applause and cheers erupted.
The Ukrainians — lots of them taking a quick break from defending their nation towards the Russian invasion that triggered a devastating conflict — are amongst 500 opponents from 20 nations collaborating within the video games that run by way of April 22.
Earlier Saturday, competitors on the video games bought underway with a driving problem round an automotive impediment course. Harry bought near the motion when he was pushed across the course. He and Meghan later waved to spectators as they had been pushed round in miniature Land Rover automobiles with kids on the wheel.
Beginning Sunday, opponents will participate in athletics, archery, biking, indoor rowing, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
On Friday, the duke and duchess of Sussex, as Harry and Meghan are additionally recognized, attended a welcome occasion for opponents and their family and friends. It was the couple’s first public look in Europe since they gave up their formal royal roles and moved to the U.S. greater than two years in the past, citing the insufferable strain of their roles and racist attitudes of the British media.
On Thursday the couple visited Harry’s grandmother, the 95-year-old Queen E
More Must-Read Stories From TIME