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Harry welcomes Colombia and Nigeria to ‘inspiring Invictus community of nations’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the Invictus Games in the Hague, Netherlands, last month (PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the Invictus Games in the Hague, Netherlands, last month (PA)

The Duke of Sussex has announced that Colombia and Nigeria are joining his Invictus Games Foundation in a new “community” structure.

Harry founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

The 37-year-old was joined by wife Meghan at the games in The Hague in the Netherlands last month, making their first public appearance together in Europe since quitting as senior working royals more than two years ago.

Invictus Games – The Hague
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Invictus Games in The Hague (Aaron Chown/PA)

A total of 20 nations competed in The Hague, including the UK, USA, Afghanistan, France, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, The Netherlands and Ukraine.

Columbia and Nigeria are two new members of what the foundation calls “the Invictus community of nations”.

Their membership will not necessarily mean they will be taking part in the next games, which are being held in Dusseldorf in 2023, with the foundation saying the final list of participating nations at the German event is yet to be confirmed.

Harry, founding patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, said: “The world felt the power of our Invictus community last month in The Hague and now I am delighted to announce that we have two new nations – Colombia and Nigeria – joining our inspiring international family.

“As we continue to harness the power of sport in recovery and rehabilitation year-round, I’m proud to share that Invictus is now represented across every continent (except Antarctica).

“The Invictus community of nations is built by the resilience of the men and women who serve or have served, and it’s a distinct honour to offer even more wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans the opportunity to be included in the community and programming we offer.”

Invictus Games Reception – The Hague
Harry was joined by Meghan for the Invictus Games last month (Aaron Chown/PA)

Members of the community get access to programmes such as the We Are Invictus platform for international wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans.

The foundation said more nations are expected to join over time, and participation in future Invictus Games will be drawn from membership of this community.

Meanwhile, charity Help for Heroes, which had been responsible for the selection, training and welfare of UK competitors at the Invictus Games, said it will no longer be directly involved in Team UK.

This week, the charity said: “Help for Heroes is incredibly proud to have trained, supported and delivered Team UK for the past five Invictus Games.

“However, following extensive discussions, it has been decided by the MoD that the Royal British Legion will lead the end-to-end delivery of Team UK to the Invictus Games for the next five years and will also be the main funder of the programme.

Invictus Games – The Hague
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hug Team UK competitor Lisa Johnston during the Invictus Games (Aaron Chown/PA)

“Unfortunately, therefore, we will no longer be directly involved in Invictus Team UK.

“We want to emphasise that this was not a decision we made ourselves. We know the games continues to play a unique role in shining a light on the abilities of wounded veterans.

“The MoD considered proposals from the Invictus UK partnership and have chosen this route moving forwards.

“Our focus now is on helping more people across the UK, within their communities, as part of keeping our promise to be here for wounded veterans for as long as they need us.”

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson said: “The Royal British Legion was able to offer secure funding, more personnel to support the team and a commitment to supporting Team UK into the future.

“We therefore felt this would be the best choice for Team UK. Our priority is always to ensure Team UK and our wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans get the best experience.

“We remain enormously grateful for all the work Help for Heroes has done to take Team UK to the Invictus Games and continue to work with them to support the Armed Forces community.”