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The Invictus Games competition for injured, injured and sick service workers and the elderly began on Saturday night with a permanent reception in the Netherlands and a tribute to Prince Harry for members of the Ukrainian team who had left their war-torn country for the competition.
With Harry and his wife Meghan in the front row of the opening ceremony, the contestants cheered for about a minute as the Ukrainian team waved their country’s blue-yellow flag after being welcomed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to their two-year-delayed event by the coronavirus epidemic.
Read more: Prince Harry and Meghan Merkel show affection during the opening ceremony of the Invictus Game
Harry founded the Invictus Games to help rehabilitate injured or sick military service members and veterans with the challenge of competing in sporting events such as the Paralympics.
Welcoming all the contestants, Harry singled out the Ukrainian team and their supporters.
“Your courage to come and stay here tonight cannot be overstated,” he said, a day after meeting with Ukrainians at a reception.
“You know, we stand with you. The world is united with you. And yet you deserve more. And my hope is that these events, these events, create opportunities … how we as a global community can show you better, “Harry added.
Meghan came on stage in front of Harry and introduced him: “I couldn’t love or respect him more. And I know you all feel the same way, because he is your experienced colleague, having two tours in Afghanistan and 10 years of military service.”
Read more: Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Joyride on the 2nd day of their trip to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games with children
He calls Harry “the founder of the Invictus Games and the father of our two little ones, Archie and Lily.”
Ahead of the opening ceremony, the Dutch Prime Minister said that the portraits of Invictus athletes that have been set up around The Hague, the host city of this year’s competition, emphasize the resilience of competitors in the face of adversity, weakness and strength. .
“It simply came to our notice then. I would like to extend a special welcome to the Ukrainian team, “he said as applause and cheers erupted.
Ukrainians – many of whom have taken a short break to defend their country against Russian aggression that sparked a devastating war – are among the 500 competitors from 20 countries participating in the Games, which run until April 22.
Earlier on Saturday, the Games competition began with a driving challenge around an automated obstacle course. Harry moved closer to action when he was driven around the course. He and Meghan later waved to the audience as they rode with the children in the wheels of a small Land Rover car.
Read more: Meghan Merkel hangs in white suit as Prince Harry joins first event of Invictus Games
From Sunday, competitors will participate in athletics, archery, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, seating volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
On Friday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, also known as Harry and Meghan, attended a reception for the contestants and their friends and family. This was the couple’s first public appearance in Europe since they left their official royal role more than two years ago and moved to the United States, due to their role in the British media and the unbearable pressure of racist attitudes.
The couple met Harry’s grandmother, 95-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle on Thursday. The queen is struggling with late movement problems.