UK

Prince Harry: Organising Invictus Games 'a real struggle'

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Media captionPrince Harry: "These guys are a credit to their country"

Organising a Paralympic-style sporting competition for injured members of the armed forces has been a "real struggle", Prince Harry has said.

He told the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show that launching the Invictus Games was a full-time job but a "great" experience.

Wheelchair basketball and indoor rowing will be among the sports servicemen and women from across the globe compete in at the Games in September.

Prince Harry said he "stole" the idea from a similar event in the US.

The Games will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London between 10 and 14 September.

The point of them is to use the "power of sport" to help injured military members through rehabilitation, Prince Harry said.

He said they would also be a "pathway back into employment" for many in helping them rebuild their lives.

"These guys are a credit to the country," he said.

The prince has been working to bring the event to the UK after seeing something similar in the US - the Warrior Games.

"We decided it was such a wonderful concept, we should steal it, make it bigger, make it better and bring it back home," he said.

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Image caption Servicemen Luke Darlington (L) and JJ Chalmers (R), who were injured in Afghanistan, are hoping to take part in the Games

Sir Keith Mills, former deputy chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has helped the prince to organise the Invictus Games.

"This is basically my full-time job at the moment, making sure that we pull this off," Prince Harry said.

"It's been a real struggle actually. Anyone listening out there, I would say if you're going to try and plan something this big in under a year, make sure you've either got Sir Keith Mills with you or don't bother doing it at all. It's been great."

Sports to be featured in the Games include wheelchair basketball, archery, indoor rowing, powerlifting, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.

'Stepping stone'

There will also be a competitive driving challenge organised by presenting partner Jaguar Land Rover.

Teams from Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Georgia, Iraq, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK and the US have been invited to take part.

Prince Harry pledged to make the Games a regular event.

"We're still trying to work out whether we do it next year or the year after and whether it's going to be within the UK or whether it's going to be abroad," he added.

"But the legacy has already started and if we can use it as a stepping stone for some of these individuals to move on to the Paralympics, great.

"If some of them want to use it as a one-off to get themselves back on the road and then as a stepping stone to employment, then just as good. We will use the Invictus Games for as long as it's needed."

Some 55,000 general tickets have gone on sale for the Games.

There will be further tickets for the closing concert on 14 September with headline act Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, Ellie Goulding, The Vamps and Rizzle Kicks.

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