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Thread: Invictus Games

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    BBC News - Invictus Games: Prince Harry throws party for competitors

    Prince Harry has hosted a party to welcome wounded servicemen and women to the UK ahead of the opening ceremony of the inaugural Invictus Games.

    He thanked competitors for embracing the games "so enthusiastically", while US president Barack Obama also wished teams well in a video message.

    More than 400 competitors from 13 countries will take part in the first Invictus Games over four days.

    Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host the opening ceremony later.

    The competition is the brainchild of Prince Harry with competitors - many with missing limbs or other serious injuries - due to compete for medals in nine different adaptive sports.

    The sports include athletics, wheelchair basketball and rugby, sitting volleyball, archery, powerlifting, swimming, indoor rowing and road cycling.
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    Barack Obama praises Invictus Games as logo beamed onto Buckingham Palace - London - News - London Evening Standard

    US President Barack Obama wished good luck to athletes as Prince Harry staged a party on the eve of the Invictus Games.

    A video message recorded by the president gave support to the wounded servicemen and women who have been chosen to represent their nations in the Paralympics-style championships.

    The Foo Fighters rattled the windows of the US ambassador's official residence, Winfield House in Regent's Park, as they entertained hundreds of guests at the party held in the building's sprawling garden.

    The President said in his pre-recorded message: "I know it's going to be a fiercely competitive few days but the truth is that everyone of you in these games, every service member and veteran, has already earned our highest admiration and our deepest gratitude. When your countries asked you to serve, to risk everything to protect our safety and our freedom, you and your families answered the call and just as you inspire us with your courage on the battlefield, your grit and resilience when you take the playing field, your incomparable souls inspire us today."

    Prince Harry thanked the athletes, many who have suffered from serious injuries, for getting into the spirit of the games.

    He told the crowds: "It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of the competitors to London for the first Invictus Games. Thank you, from me, for embracing the concept so enthusiastically and coming all this way - some further than others - you really have no idea what you've let yourselves in for. As many of you know the idea was born from the US Warrior Games and therefore what better way to mark the start of the Games than at Winfield House."

    Meanwhile, the official Invictus Games logo was projected onto Buckingham Palace in celebration of the launch.

    More than 400 competitors, both serving military personnel and veterans, will go head to head in nine adaptive sports at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Lee Valley Athletics Centre in London over four days from Thursday.

    Teams have travelled from the USA, Denmark, Estonia, France and Italy, Canada, Holland, Australia, Afghanistan, Georgia, New Zealand and Germany.
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    Default Re: Invictus Games

    I love Prince Harry!

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    Wills & Harry are OK lads, I reckon.


    HOME | INVICTUS GAMES

    BBC News - Prince Harry's Invictus Games open at London Olympic Park

    The Invictus Games for wounded servicemen and women have opened at the Olympic Park in London.

    The Games, organised by Prince Harry, will see competitors from 13 countries take part in events over four days.

    The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Cambridge attended the opening ceremony, along with 6,500 spectators.

    Prince Harry, who was introduced by US First Lady Michelle Obama, said "lives will be changed" by the Games.

    He told the crowd: "Over the next four days we will see some truly remarkable achievements.

    "For some of those taking part this will be a stepping stone to elite sport. But for others, it will mark the end of a chapter in their recovery and the beginning of a new one.

    "Either way, you can be sure that everyone who takes part on the track, pool or field of play will be giving it their all. And I have no doubt that lives will be changed this weekend."

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    Default Brits strike gold

    By Karen McVeigh:

    British soldiers strike gold at Invictus Games | Sport | theguardian.com

    Alex Tate celebrates his  011 - Invictus Games
    Alex Tate

    A baffling array of categories in each event spoke of the severity of their injuries, while their presence at the first Invictus Games spoke of the private battles fought to overcome them.

    Equal to the grit of the injured servicemen and women on display, and the personal bests beaten on the field at Lee Valley Athletics Centre in London, was the support of the 7,000-strong crowd of family, friends and supporters, including Prince Harry, the Duke of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales, which gave many the boost they needed to make it over the finish line.

    The 131-strong team representing Great Britain which tallied six gold, five silver and four bronze medals by late afternoon on Thursday had a strong start, taking the first two medals of the athletics, in the 100m. In the category IT1, for single or double amputees below the knee, Alex Tate took first place, ahead of his team-mate, Kushal Limbu.

    Speaking after he picked up Britain's first gold, Tate, 24, said: "It was a massive rush. This was my biggest, my best, standing up being cheered as I received my medal. It's crazy. I had a feeling it was going to be a medal. I realised it was going to be close between Kushal and me but I did not think I would have to throw myself over the line."

    Tate, who flung himself toward the finish line during the final 10m after suffering a hamstring injury, said the competition was the "best rehab any soldier could have. I was suffering from depression and [post-traumatic stress disorder]. It gave me something to focus on."

    Tate, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, lost his left leg after being struck by an improvised explosive device while on patrol with the Royal Anglian First Battalion in Afghanistan in 2012.

    Limbu, 32, a veteran with 11 years service with the 2nd Gurkha Rifles, who went on to win another gold, for the 200m, said: "I wasn't hoping for a medal that much. I'm pleased with my silver."

    Limbu won in the 100m and 200m in the Warrior Games in the US, but described the Invictus event as "bigger than that. Honestly, this is the biggest event of my military career."

    Michaela Richards, who won two gold medals for 400m and 100m in the "open" category, shaving a second from her personal best in the former, said she felt "amazing, really buzzing" after her win.

    Speaking after being confirmed as the 400m gold medal winner after a mix-up initially reported her disqualified, Richards, who was in the Royal Navy when she was involved in a car accident that left her with a brain injury in 2011, said: "I couldn't ask for better races, for a better crowd. They were amazing."

    She said the service charity, Help for Heroes, had "saved her life" by getting her into sport.

    With nine events ranging from wheelchair rugby to sitting volleyball, the Invictus which means "unconquered" in Latin uses competition to inspire recovery, rehabilitation and understanding of military sacrifice.

    Before the competition began, a drum service, a tradition going back hundreds of years, was held in the in-field. It paid tribute to the sacrifice made by soldiers who fought in the first world war, which began 100 years ago, and remembered those affected by 9/11, which happened 13 years ago on Thursday.

    More than 400 competitors are taking part in the Invictus Games. The largest contingents of athletes come from the US, with 97, and the UK, with 131. Many in the audience were also veterans or military personnel.

    Jon Sear, 45, a Royal Marines officer, who had come with his wife, Lacey, 47, said they wanted to "celebrate the fact that its possible to come back from injury and still achieve phenomenal performance. It's about taking a minute to reflect on the guys who are here and those less fortunate, who are not."

    Some competitors, such as Richards, who has a brain injury, beat their personal bests. She won a gold medal and shaved a second off her previous time in the 100 metres, open category. Others endured.

    At one point, during the 1,500m, it looked as though Paata Jibuti, from Georgia, would not finish. Clearly in pain, the 41-year-old faltered a few metres from the finish line. After a massive cheer from the crowd Jibuti picked up speed and ended the race with a flourish. "I felt a very sharp pain," he said through a translator. "But I heard the cheer and it got me through."

    Jibuti, one of the six-member Georgia team, lost a hand in the 1993 Georgia-Russia war. He signed up as medic in the second war, in 2008, but was once again injured, this time he suffered a shrapnel wound to his leg.

    Andy Grant, from Liverpool, who won the 1500m, said: "It is just amazing to be running round and getting cheered. Especially the commentary when they say, 'Andy Grant, Royal Marine,' and everyone is cheering, it is an amazing feeling. It has been amazing week to be honest.

    "I knew straight away how important sport was just through my rehab, but seeing the guys now, I don't think there is anything more inspiring than seeing a guy who two years ago was lying in a ditch in Afghanistan bleeding to death, and now he is running 100m in Paralympic time."

    Grant, 26, a former Royal Marine who lost his right leg in Afghanistan in 2009, explained the irony behind a tattoo on his leg a Liver Bird with the words "You'll never walk alone". The surgeon who amputated Grant's leg had to rearrange some of the skin to create a stump. "He managed to cut off the word alone so the tattoo now reads You'll never walk."

    Prince Harry and his brother mingled with the competitors at the trackside. During a chat with journalists, Harry said he was "thrilled" with the way the games, which he founded after visiting the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013, have gone so far.

    He described Joe Townsend, who at that point had won one gold medal, as "our David Weir", the Paralympian wheelchair athlete who won six gold medals at the 2012 and 2008 games. Townsend, a former Royal Marine who lost his legs in combat in 2008, went on to win three more the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m in the wheelchair category.
    Good on them!

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