Invictus Games

Invictus Games: Prince Harry closes 'more than a sporting event' in Düsseldorf

After a spectacular seven days of competition, the Düsseldorf Invictus Games has come to a close.

"You don't need to rely on a uniform, nor should you feel lost without one," Prince Harry told the audience at the closing ceremony, in the Merkur Spiel-Arena, Düsseldorf.

Competitors from 21 nations paraded the main stage to the applause of a jubilant crowd who had been treated to a week-long marvel of sport.

'Much more than a sporting event'

The Duke of Sussex took to the stage following a performance by Eurovision star Sam Ryder.

He said: "As you have seen and experienced, this week is so much more than a sporting event. It is a platform for positive change.

"The ripple of respect has been felt far and wide and we hope you too are feeling it deeply."

He added: "So many of you and your loved ones have been to the darkest places imaginable – but your mission to heal and grow has been a shining example to us all.

"You've shown us the power in not defining people by assumption, their backstory or past pain - but rather instead on their ability, how they show up, and who they are in the present.

"After this week, know that you are all leading the way for defining human potential and human decency.

"We value you. We need you. And the world does too".

Speaking to Forces News before the closing ceremony, Minister for Veterans' Affairs Johnny Mercer, praised the ethos of Invictus.

Mercer said: "We need to make sure they are an enduring legacy for veterans."

The MP for Plymouth Moor View had been in Dusseldorf watching Team UK compete.

Watch: Minister for Veterans' Affairs Johnny Mercer praises the Invictus Games as a festival of recovery.

Even though the games have come to an end, the last day of competition showed no sign of letting up on the action.

Team UK concludes the 2023 Invictus Games with a total of 70 medals. 

The last day in Düsseldorf saw archery take centre stage.

Gareth Fuller won gold in the Men's Open Recurve on Friday, but his biggest achievement was the team silver in Saturday's mixed open recurve competition.

He said: "I've got two great teammates. We shot through difficulties, we had a great time, we went out there and we wanted to have fun. We had fun, we shot as best as we could on the day and we won silver.

"How fantastic is that."

The Games have been successful across ten sports for the British team - with hauls in the swimming pool and road cycling. 

Becky York, who served in the Royal Marines Band for 15 years, medalled in both contests.

She said: "It's amazing, I didn't expect to get any medals, and certainly in swimming the competition was so fierce.

"It was just a very emotional moment getting this medal."

Team UK depart Düsseldorf with a haul of 70 Medals - 29 Gold, 20 Silver and 21 Bronze.

But more importantly, the athletes head home with new experiences, friends and sporting goals.

 In all, 140,000 visitors attended the seven days of action.

The next Invictus Games will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in February 2025.

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