The 2020 Invictus Games have been postponed amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, Prince Harry revealed in an announcement Thursday. The annual games, for which the Duke of Sussex is a patron of and which he has attended since they began in 2014, were scheduled to take place in May at The Hauge, though they will be pushed until May or June of 2021.
Our Patron the #DukeofSussex has released a video message to the #InvictusGames competitors recognising their disappointment at the news, but that it's the best outcome for their safety and recovery. #CoronavirusUpdate #IG2020 https://t.co/STbVVpILeC— Invictus Games Foundation (@WeAreInvictus) March 19, 2020
"This was an incredibly difficult decision for all of us to have had to make," Harry, who recently announced that he and his wife would be stepping back as senior members of the royal family, said in a video, according to the Evening Standard. "I'm so grateful for everybody who has worked so incredibly hard over the last couple of week to try and find any alternative to try and carry out these games, in a different way and in a safe way. But this decision was the most sensible and the safest option for all of you and your families as well as everybody else involved in these games."
"I know how disappointed you all must be. This is a focus that so many of you need," he continued. "I would encourage you to maintain that focus as best you can. The good thing is you have an extra 12 or so months to be even fitter, to get even fitter than you already are, to be at your absolute top mental and physical fitness. So in that sense I am really excited about the games next year."
Harry went on to apologize for the postponement and encouraged those watching to "please take care of yourselves" and "do what you do best which is reaching out to other people, be it those that still wear the uniform, use to wear the uniform or just those people in your community who you know may be suffering or may be vulnerable during this period."
"Do what you do best and we will do everything that we can to get you a date and a time for you to show up next year. You'll be the first to know," he said. "Again really sorry we couldn't make this happened. But take care of yourselves and I'll catch up with you soon."0comments
The postponement had first been announced in a statement issued by the Invictus Games Foundation, explaining that "we did not wish to add to the complexity of the response, or increase the risk to those involved, by bringing together an international and potentially vulnerable audience."
The Invictus Games have been held annually ever since 2014 and is an international sporting event that brings together wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, both serving and veterans. They have been held in London, Orlando, Toronto, and Sydney.