The 5th edition of the Invictus Games is off to a start in the Netherlands! The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured, and sick service persons, both serving and veteran. After a two-year delay, the games are all set to go ahead in The Hague. Over the course of a week, 500 differently-abled competitors from 20 countries are ready to participate at various locations around the city. You can catch all the action live from 16-22 April 2022.
The word invictus means ‘unconquered’. Many know it from the famous poem with the same title by William Ernest Henley, an amputee himself.
Henley’s poem has been used as motivation in times of adversity and is about the poet’s own battle with a long illness. Taking inspiration from his work, the Invictus Games are about the fighting spirit that embodies these resilient service people. It is a showcase of what they are capable of achieving post-injury. As the closing lines of the poem go:
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
The power of sports
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex will be present as the patron and founder of the Invictus Games. The opening ceremony will be attended by Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, the honorary chairperson of the Committee of Recommendation of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020. And King Willem-Alexander will attend the closing ceremony.
The Duke of Sussex was determined to create these games after watching the ‘Warrior Games’ in the United States in 2013. There he witnessed the power of sport to help individuals physically and psychologically. This and the transformative nature of sport as a positive force in society is what gave birth to the first edition of the Invictus games in 2014. The Invictus Games use sport to inspire recovery, support, and rehabilitation whilst generating a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country.
Inclusive sports experiences
The Netherlands is proud to play host to such an important event that means so much to its athletes, their families, and audiences around the world. There will be 10 sports in which athletes can compete; athletics, archery, cycling, indoor rowing, Land Rover driving challenge, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby.
They also provide athletes and their friends and families a platform to get together and build a community around sports. The role of this community surrounding participants in their recovery after injury or illness is of great importance. Royal Netherlands Navy wheelchair basketball player Fenna Geugjes’ partner Bertine and best friend Saskia are certain about this. They confirm that Fenna’s road to her new life after an injury sustained during a parachute jump has been positively impacted by her basketball career.
The Invictus Games are part of this recovery process for athletes like Fenna. She says, “It was certainly one of the pieces of the puzzle. Of course, the people around me also played a role in the end, as well as therapy.”
Partners beyond the sports field
For many, this event is about much more than sport, which is why the Netherlands is keen to partner up with initiatives that utilise sport to change the game together. Conny Wenting and Mart de Kruif, CEO and chairman, respectively, of Invictus Games The Hague 2020 identified the importance of being hosts to this event. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued a defence mandate, together with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, so that the Games could be held in Zuiderpark in The Hague.
The Netherlands actively ensures all processes run smoothly to make hosting sporting events like the Invictus Games possible. We are on a mission to invigorate the sporting landscape by being a partner for inclusive, sustainable and innovative sport experiences. We invite you to join this momentum and reach out if you have ideas and ongoing projects that you believe will add value to society through the transformative nature of sports.
Let’s change the game together!
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