SYDNEY - Britain’s Prince Harry will open the Invictus Games in Australia this weekend. The competition for injured servicemen and women, along with veterans, will attract 500 athletes from 18 countries.
"Invictus" means unconquered, or undefeated in Latin. It is the name given to a Paralympic-style event co-founded in 2014 by Britain’s Prince Harry, who served in the Army for ten years, and went on two tours of Afghanistan.
The Prince was inspired after he attended a similar event for wounded veterans in the United States.
There have been three Invictus Games so far; in London in 2014, Orlando in Florida in 2016 and Toronto in Canada in 2017.
The fourth installment starts Saturday in Sydney.
The event will officially be opened by Prince Harry, who has arrived in Australia on a royal tour.
“I am particularly grateful to the Australian government for hosting the Invictus Games, which the whole country has embraced with great enthusiasm. Thank you so much for all of the support," said Harry. "Australia is, of course, home to some of the world’s best sporting talent but what you are about to see during these Invictus Games will quite literally astound you; a demonstration of the power of the human spirit, the power of sport to change lives.”
The games bring together hundreds of athletes from 18 countries, who are all military allies, including Afghanistan, France, Iraq, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Former Australian commando Garry Robinson was in a Black Hawk helicopter when it crashed in 2010 in enemy territory in Afghanistan.
He suffered a severe brain injury and a fractured lower spine. His left leg was later amputated below the knee.
He is now competing in his fourth Invictus Games.
“I am very honored. I am very proud. I have always said to my therapist I cannot wait to the day comes that Invictus does come to Australia," said Robinson. "So it has saved my life and to be able to be supported and acknowledged by my home countrymen for me would be the pinnacle of my recovery. You will see me competing in cycling, archery and swimming.”
Many of the events will be hosted at the same venues used for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. They include athletics, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and powerlifting.
The sailing and road cycling competitions will take place in and around Sydney Harbor.
The Invictus Games run from October 20-27.