The Invictus Games are currently taking place this week in Düsseldorf, Germany.
The Invictus Games is an international multi-sport event first held in 2014, for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans.
Team UK’s team of 59 competitors is made up of veterans and currently serving personnel from the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and they are competing across 10 sports including athletics, swimming, wheelchair rugby, and powerlifting.
This year’s games presented by Boeing, kicked off on Saturday, 9 September, with a touching and inspiring Opening Ceremony.
From the very beginning of the show, the sold-out MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA rocked as the nations, led by their captains, marched into “A Home for Respect.” with the biggest cheers going to Ukraine; returning nations Jordan and New Zealand who missed the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic; and the new nations of Colombia, Israel, and Nigeria.
Over 500 competitors from the 21 nations were welcomed to the venue by the Mayor of Düsseldorf, Dr Stephan Keller and Ziad Ojakli, Executive Vice President Boeing Government Operations.
The tone of the show was set by the founder of the Invictus Games, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, with a touching welcome speech which opened with The Duke speaking German:
“Whether competitor or spectator, you will all take so much away from these Games. There are endless opportunities to have your lives touched and hearts opened. The energy alone is palpable and contagious. Lean into it and keep it close. Let it inspire the limitless in you. Remember you are not only watching or participating in sport but experiencing the magic of the human spirit – learning first hand from those who live not bound by their journey but instead freed by it.”
The Opening Ceremony was moderated by Hadnet Tesfai and Steven Gätjen. Later, under roaring applause, dancers from the AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most famous inclusive dance companies, raised the official Invictus Games flag with the help of six children. The show was crowned by rap superstar Macklemore with number one hits such as “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”. The show in Düsseldorf was the biggest opening show in the history of the Games.
Throughout the week, a total of 624 medals in ten sports will be awarded at the INVICTUSGAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 until Saturday, 16 September. The venue of the Games is the Invictus Games Park surrounding the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA which took 15,000 hours of work to set up. More than 600 journalists have been accredited and over 100,000 visitors are expected. The Invictus Games for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans is the largest international event of its kind. This year, for the first time, the sports events will be free to enter thanks to Amazon, and no tickets are required.
This sporting event, which will be held under the motto “A Home for Respect”, is jointly organised by the Bundeswehr and the City of Düsseldorf.
“Every single story of the competitors shows how high the price of service and safeguarding freedom and security for all of us can be. This service on the part of military personnel should never be taken for granted, because it is not a given. I am delighted that the Invictus Games are taking place in Germany for the first time and am sure they will be an international celebration of optimism, hope and inner strength,” said Boris Pistorius, the Federal Minister of Defence.
The INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 will conclude on Saturday, 16 September, 7.15 pm, with an extraordinary Closing Ceremony. There, the participants come together once more to be duly celebrated for their commitment, strength and fighting spirit. Featuring performances from Sam Ryder, and from singer-songwriter Rita Ora, who will perform a total of six of her hit songs.
Tickets for the Closing Ceremony are available under www.invictusgames23.de/en/tickets/
For all the results from this year’s games go to: https://results.invictusgames23.de/IG2023/ENG/competitionschedule
Main photo: Behind the scenes with Team UK at the Invictus Games 2023, held in Dusseldorf, Germany. Photographer: Petty Officer Joel Rouse – Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023.