Prince Harry of Britain opened Saturday the Olympic-style Invictus Games for disabled and wounded soldiers in a touching ceremony in the courtyard of the Sydney Opera House, after an intense storm caused a delay of one hour.
The Duke of Sussex, who climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge on Friday to help raise the flag of the Games, welcomed more than 500 competitors from 18 countries to an event he founded.
"In the last four years, the Invictus Games have become much more than the thousands of competitors that have participated," he said in a boomerang-shaped stage, after a late traditional aboriginal welcome ceremony that was held up by the rain torrential. and the rays.
"Invictus has become an example of the service and dedication our competitors have brought to the world, and our Invictus family has made these Games a symbol of strength, honor and optimism for a new generation."
The prince said that the concept was particularly relevant in 2018, the centenary of the end of the First World War.
"It feels an appropriate tribute to the legacy of that generation to continue supporting those who have served their country today," he said.
The previous Saturday, Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan opened an extension of a war memorial in the city before delivering the first Invictus medals in a driving challenge, where France won gold.
The Games could be Harry's creation, but they are also special for the couple, as it was at the 2017 event in Toronto when he made his first appearance with the former American actress, then dressed in torn jeans and a casual white shirt .
They met in 2016 and went under the radar before going public on the Canadian event.
"I have been so proud to introduce you to my wife and we are very happy to celebrate the personal joy of our new addition with all of you," she said in a message to Australia at the end of her speech, referring to her unborn baby.
– Healing power of sport –
Founded by Harry in 2014, the Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick men and women, both active duty and veterans.
The prince, a former soldier, has previously spoken of how deeply moved he was to witness the death and injuries that changed his life while he was deployed in Afghanistan, along with the grief and sadness that accompanied it.
This prompted the idea of using sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and recognize the crucial role played by family and friends.
It culminated with the opening of the Invictus Games in London in 2014, and his stature grew since then in two more events in Orlando and Toronto.
Those who participate in Sydney will compete in 11 sports medals during a week, many of them in places that hosted the Olympic Games in 2000. Australia has adopted the concept with most of the tickets sold out.
Cycling and sailing are held on Sunday with rowing inside, wheelchair tennis and volleyball sitting from Monday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent the week in Australia before the Games, receiving a warm welcome from fans at the start of their 16-day tour of the Pacific.
They will have to attend cycling on Sunday before heading to Fraser Island in Queensland, the largest sand island in the world, and then fly to Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
Prince Harry received more than 500 competitors from 18 countries at the event in Sydney
The Duke of Sussex took the stage after a traditional aboriginal welcome ceremony.
Harry and Meghan delivered the first Invictus medals early Saturday