Prince Harry has cancelled the 2020 Invictus Games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as organisers are now looking ahead to the 2021 games.
The 35-year-old royal usually hosts the sporting event – which he launched in 2014 – every year, but has been forced to axe this year’s games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 games were due to be held in May in The Hague, Netherlands, but following the outbreak of the virus – which is also known as Covid-19 – Harry has decided to cancel the event until next year’s games.
In a video message shared to the competitors of the 2020 Invictus Games, Prince Harry said: “This decision was the most sensible – and safest – option for all of you, for your family and everyone else involved in these games.
“I know how disappointed you all must be. This is a focus that so many of you need. I would encourage you maintain that focus as best as you can. The good thing is you have an extra 12 or so months to be even fitter, to get even fitter than you already are, to be at your absolute top mental and physical fitness.”
Organisers of the event – in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel compete in nine sports – are now looking to host the games in 2021, but are assessing all options.
In a statement, they said: “In light of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, the Board of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, along with the Invictus Games Foundation, are forced to conclude that organising the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, can no longer take place as planned from 9 to 16 May 2020.
“We are now investigating all options to reschedule the Invictus Games, subject to the availability of key facilities and resources, to May or June 2021. Significant planning to scope and confirm this option is underway.”
The Invictus Games is just one of many events impacted by COVID-19 – which has already claimed almost 10,000 lives worldwide – with the likes of Coachella, Glastonbury, and Cannes Film Festival all postponing or cancelling their plans for 2020.