Sheffield to host first-ever national trials for Invictus Games

Sheffield may well be in line for another royal visit after being chosen as the host city for the first-ever national Invictus Games trials.

The Games, an adaptive multi-sport event were set up by Prince Harry and see wounded, injured or sick armed forces personnel and veterans compete in a tournament.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex cheer on competitors taking part in a sailing event at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney harbour. Picture: Chris Jackson/Invictus Games Foundation/PA Wire

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex cheer on competitors taking part in a sailing event at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney harbour. Picture: Chris Jackson/Invictus Games Foundation/PA Wire

Folllowing a success competition in Sydney in October, forces charity Help for Heroes, the Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion have teamed up to host the first-ever national games in Sheffield in July 2019.

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The event will include Team UK’s Trials for the next Invictus Games in The Hague in May 2020, and provide opportunities for up to 500 individuals and their families to use the power of sport, teamwork and competition to aid their recovery.

Participants will be able to take part in sports including athletics, wheelchair basketball, powerlifting, swimming and sitting volleyball.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore

Air Vice-Marshal Garry Tunnicliffe, head of UK Delegation, said: ““The Invictus Games 2018 once again showed the incredible rehabilitative power of sport to help our wounded and injured service personnel and veterans.

“These new games will ensure we maintain the momentum of recovery for the special community Invictus has created.

“Together with Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion we can help those who have life changing conditions, especially those who have sacrificed so much for our country, to lead full and rewarding lives.”

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The English Institute of Sport Sheffield. Picture: Peter Cook.

The English Institute of Sport Sheffield. Picture: Peter Cook.

It has not been confirmed whether Prince Harry will visit the games himself but he has visited all of the previous internatinal competitions, since he organised the first event in 2014.

Mel Waters, chief executive officer of Help for Heroes, said the charity was ‘delighted’ to be able to help even more armed forces personnel and veterans by holding the national games.

She said: “We are extremely proud of the significant progress so many individuals and families have made on their recovery journeys through being part of Team UK.

“We are delighted that, alongside the Ministry of Defence and The Royal British Legion, we will be able to help even more individuals benefit from the power of taking part in sport in 2019.”

The multi-day event will feaure a number of sports across a number of venues including the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe.

Antony Baines, director of operations at The Royal British Legion said: “The Legion is proud to be working with Help for Heroes and the Ministry of Defence on the 2019 Games in Sheffield.

“The event will be an example of our life long commitment to today’s serving personnel, veterans and their families. These Games are aimed at not only those competing in sport, but their partners, parents, children and friends who support their loved ones throughout injury or illness and play an integral part in their recovery.”

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore said the city was ‘thrilled’ to be hosting the event and said opportunities for businesses and communities to get involved would be announced at a later date.

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Coun Dore said: “In Sheffield, we are becoming increasingly well-known as the leading city in the UK for adaptive and disability sport, which makes this a match made in sporting heaven. We are looking forward to giving a warm Sheffield welcome to the five hundred participants, as well as their teams and supporters, and are hugely proud to support our armed forces, along with Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.

“We know people in Sheffield are great at getting behind major sporting events, so watch this space for more details about opportunities for communities and the business and cultural sector throughout the city to get involved and support the event.

“This is the first time the UK Invictus Trials will be run as a formal event in this way, and it is fantastic that Sheffield has been chosen to host this inaugural occasion at the forefront of a positive and exciting global movement.”