After four long years, the moment competitors and their families and friends have been waiting for has finally arrived – the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 starts on today, with the Land Rover Driving Challenge and the Opening Ceremony.
CAPTION: Invictus Games Team Australia competitors and their family and friends watch on as Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex addresses the crowd during the welcome reception held at the Nations Home, Invictus Games Park in The Hague, the Netherlands. Story by Lucy Redford-Hunt.
Day one begins with the first medal event of the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark. The Land Rover Driving Challenge will see teams battle it out behind the wheel, with Leading Seaman Vanessa Broughill and former Infantryman Matt Model leading the charge for Australia.
Drivers will navigate a specially designed obstacle course which aims to test each team’s driving skills, precision, teamwork and navigational ability. Using a points system, drivers will be tested on the accuracy of their driving.
Team Australia will be looking to motor their way back onto the podium to back up the silver medal claimed by Australians Craig McGrath and Scott Reynolds at Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
Later in the evening, the Invictus Games will officially commence with the Opening Ceremony, starting seven days of competition that will see 500 wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women from 20 nations compete across 10 adaptive sports.
Competitors, friends and family will be welcomed to The Hague for a 1.5-hour show staged at the Invictus Games Stadium. The event will feature live performances by the Royal Military Band ‘Johan Willem Friso’, Anneke van Giersbergen, DI-RECT and British rock band Kaiser Chiefs.
The Opening Ceremony will include appearances by the Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation The Duke of Sussex and the Honorary Chair of the Committee of Recommendation for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte. Commander of the Armed Forces General Eichelsheim and Minister Helder for Long-Term Care and Sport will also be in attendance.
The Hague is the fifth city to host the Invictus Games, following Sydney in 2018, Toronto in 2017, Orlando in 2016 and London in 2014.