Prince Harry has released a disappointing statement announcing that the Invictus Games have been postponed again due to the Covid pandemic.
The Duke of Sussex, who founded the games and is now patron, was part of a video message sharing the news, which will be a huge blow for royal and sporting fans.
The games were due to take place last year, but were postponed to May and June this year. However, they have now been put back again and the organisers will release a 2022 date soon.
Explaining the decision, Harry’s statement explains: “This move is to avoid current social distancing measures that would otherwise negatively impact the recovery journey of its competitors.”
Harry opens the video by saying: “We are Invictus” before it cuts to clips of athletes and supporters talking about resistance.
He then shares a message to key workers, before saying “when the world is ready, we will compete”.
The letter, signed by Harry, as well as Mart de Kruif, chair of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020
and Sir Keith Mills, chair of the Invictus Games Foundation, said: “We are Invictus: from the communities that host and cherish the Games, and the competitors who display unshakeable resilience and commitment as they prepare for and participate in the Games, to the families and network of supporters who support these men and women on their journey to competition.
“For so many around the world, the Invictus community included, COVID-19 has changed our expectations, hopes, and plans.
“But our unwavering mission is one bound by resilience and community—and that mission will continue to shine through between now and Spring 2022, when we hope to see everybody in person again in The Hague.
“For now, we are continuing to plan programming, opportunities to connect safely during the foreseeable future, and ways to infuse the spirit of Invictus in your own communities over the coming year.
“We’re excited to share more soon.”
It also explains that plans were put forward for a virtual event or something later in the year, but they were not taken forward.
Harry’s good friend, former Royal Marines Commando JJ Chalmers, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing last year, shared his support.
He wrote: “The wait continues, but one day we will be back, no doubt stronger than ever.
“As enduring hardship is what we do and what made us #Invictus!
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“So, Continue to train and prepare. Continue to look after yourselves, your families and each other.”
Harry got the idea for the games during a trip to the Warrior Games in the US in 2013, when he saw how sport could help wounded servicemen and women in their recovery.
The following year, he put on the first inaugural Invictus Games in London.
He made his first official appearance with then-girlfriend Meghan Markle at the Toronto Games in 2017.
-- to www.mirror.co.uk