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Prince Harry says he is excited to see ‘passion, determination, and resilience’ of the 64-strong Team UK squad taking part in the first Invictus Games to include winter sports next year

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Prince Harry has said he is excited to see ‘passion, determination, and resilience’ of the Team UK squad taking part in the first Invictus Games to include winter sports.

The Duke of Sussex, 39, said the ‘memorable experience’ will include alpine skiing, snowboarding and skeleton – a sport where the person rides a bobsled headfirst down a frozen track.

The prince hailed the wounded, injured and sick serving UK personnel and veterans who are to take part in the 64-strong squad, made up of 60 competitors and four reserves, named as Team UK for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler in February.

Harry said he is excited ‘to see their passion, determination, and resilience on full display as they take on this new chapter’.

Prince Harry has said he is excited to see ‘passion, determination, and resilience’ of the Team UK squad taking part in the first Invictus Games to include winter sports

Prince Harry at the Invictus Games One Year To Go Event in February in Whistler, Canada

Prince Harry at the Invictus Games One Year To Go Event in February in Whistler, Canada

The Duke of Sussex is pictured sliding down the track on a skeleton sled during an Invictus Games training camp Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, slides down the track on a skeleton sled during an Invictus Games training camp in February

The Duke of Sussex is pictured sliding down the track on a skeleton sled during an Invictus Games training camp Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, slides down the track on a skeleton sled during an Invictus Games training camp in February

The Invictus Games was established in 2014 by Harry as an international adaptive multi-sport event for wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans to participate in as part of their recovery journey.

Prince Harry said: ‘Congratulations to those selected for Team UK for our first-ever Winter Invictus Games in Vancouver Whistler next February.

‘Team UK will join over 500 competitors from across 20 nations in this groundbreaking event that expands the range and profile of winter adaptive sports.

‘These games present an incredible opportunity for our courageous service personnel and veterans to demonstrate their skills in new challenges like alpine skiing, snowboarding and skeleton, as well as providing a truly memorable experience for their families.

‘We’re excited to see their passion, determination, and resilience on full display as they take on this new chapter.’

The team includes people from all services and of different generations, some of whom are facing challenging physical and mental injuries sustained while serving the UK either at home or abroad.

The Duke of Sussex , 39, said the 'memorable experience' will include alpine skiing, snowboarding and skeleton - a sport where the person rides a bobsled headfirst down a frozen track (pictured is Prince Harry participating in the sport)

The Duke of Sussex , 39, said the ‘memorable experience’ will include alpine skiing, snowboarding and skeleton – a sport where the person rides a bobsled headfirst down a frozen track (pictured is Prince Harry participating in the sport)

Wounded, injured and sick serving UK personnel and veterans are to take part in the 64-strong squad, made up of 60 competitors and four reserves, which was named as Team UK for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler in February. Pictured is the prince and Meghan Markle

Wounded, injured and sick serving UK personnel and veterans are to take part in the 64-strong squad, made up of 60 competitors and four reserves, which was named as Team UK for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler in February. Pictured is the prince and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit the Whistler Sliding Centre during the training camp for the Invictus Games

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit the Whistler Sliding Centre during the training camp for the Invictus Games

They have a range of injuries including visual impairment, amputation, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD and mental health issues – and have been selected based on the benefit that training for, and competing at the games, will contribute towards their recovery.

Team captain, Stephen ‘Hoops’ Hooper, is returning for his second Invictus Games after competing in powerlifting and sitting volleyball at Dusseldorf in 2023.

Hoops, who served in the RAF and was diagnosed with PTSD before being medically discharged in 2021, said: ‘To be selected for Team UK again was overwhelming in itself, but to be captain as well, is a privilege.

‘I gained a lot from the whole Team UK experience last time around, I’ve gone from standing in the corner of a room and not talking to anybody, to finding my voice again. And that’s what I want to do for others this time, make sure every member of Team UK comes together and takes those steps forward in their recovery.’

Juliet Bale, 54, served as a nurse in the RAF and Army before being medically discharged after sustaining a traumatic brain injury on operation in Kenya.

She said it had been been difficult to adapt to a life of being cared for due to her injury.

The Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle seen during the Invictus Games 2023 at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf

The Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle seen during the Invictus Games 2023 at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games, in Toronto, Canada in 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games, in Toronto, Canada in 2017

Prince Harry is seen at a volleyball match at Nigeria Unconquered, a community-based charitable organisation dedicated to aiding wounded, injured, or sick servicemembers, as part of celebrations of Invictus Games anniversary in Abuja, Nigeria in May

Prince Harry is seen at a volleyball match at Nigeria Unconquered, a community-based charitable organisation dedicated to aiding wounded, injured, or sick servicemembers, as part of celebrations of Invictus Games anniversary in Abuja, Nigeria in May

She said: ‘I went from being a nurse with a Master’s degree, to somebody who struggled to make a cup of tea, but being part of Team UK has already made me realise that there’s so much out there that I can do.

‘I’ve been introduced to new sports, new friends, and I have a feeling of belonging again.’

Louise Assioun, the Royal British Legion’s Team UK manager, said: ‘For the selected individuals, being part of a team again, representing their country and being around others who are all on their individual recovery pathway is what makes Team UK’s journey to the Invictus Games so unique.

‘The Royal British Legion is proud to support them every step of the way.’

Defence Secretary John Healey also congratulated the squad, saying ‘their strength, resilience and dedication are an inspiration to us all’.

It comes just days after Prince Harry was ‘stunned’ by the backlash he faced after being nominated for an award named after an American war hero killed in Afghanistan, sources claimed.

The Duke of Sussex is due to be honoured with the Pat Tillman Award for Service for his Invictus Games work at the glitzy ESPY Awards in Los Angeles tomorrow.

Tillman, an American football star who gave up a £3million contract to enlist in the US Army after 9/11, had his life tragically cut short at the age of 27 when he was killed in friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan 20 years ago.

His mother Mary, who said she was not consulted about Prince Harry being given the award bearing her son’s name, told the Mail last week: ‘I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award.

‘There are recipients that are far more fitting. There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans.

‘These individuals do not have the money, resources, connections or privilege that Prince Harry has. I feel that those types of individuals should be recognised.’

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