Sydney’s Royal Visit Ahead of Invictus Games
Australia’s royal watchers will have a field day in June, when the UK’s Prince Harry pays a visit to Sydney. The British prince’s last trip in 2015 proved that he is wildly popular in Australia, and the news that he is dating US actor Meghan Markle has done nothing to dim his celebrity appeal.
Harry’s main focus in his early June visit, however, will be Australia’s team of military veteran athletes, as they prepare for the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto in September. As patron and founder, the prince can also expect to be updated on Sydney’s preparations to host next year’s Invictus Games.
The Toronto games will be the largest since the Invictus Games began. Inspired by the USA’s Warrior Games, Prince Harry instigated the games in 2014. Unlike the American version, the Invictus Games are open to adaptive sports athletes from the UK’s allies as well as the UK itself, as long as they are injured, sick or disabled veterans or serving personnel in their nations’ armed forces.
Invictus Games Grow Bigger Every Year
From 13 nations invited to the inaugural London Invictus Games in 2014, to 15 in last year’s tournament in Atlanta, USA, the third edition this year has grown to include 17 countries and over 500 athletes.
Teams from Australia, New Zealand and the UK will join hosts Canada in Toronto in September, along with athletes from Afghanistan, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Jordan, the Netherlands, Romania, Ukraine and the USA.
It is likely that the fourth Invictus Games, scheduled for October next year, will be even bigger, so the Sydney organisers will be keen to show off their progress to date during the royal visit. Harry will attend a number of events celebrating 2018 Invictus Games preparations in the city.
Meanwhile, Australia’s squad of 53 Invictus athletes are hard at work training for Toronto. The Invictus Games feature a wide range of sports, ranging from archery, swimming and sitting tennis to wheelchair rugby, road cycling and golf. It’s a pretty safe bet that the prince will also pay an inspirational visit to the squad while he is in Australia, as he did to the UK team in Bath earlier this year.