The first ever national games for wounded, injured and sick veterans and personnel was launched yesterday in Sheffield by the UK partnership consisting of the Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion.

The plans were announced today with a visit to Sheffield’s Winter Garden by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson welcomed by leaders from Sheffield Council.

Building on the success of Sydney and maintaining the strong association with the Invictus Games, a series of events and sporting activities will take place at a multi-day event in Sheffield between the 22-26 July 2019. The games will provide opportunities for up to 500 individuals and their families to use the power of sport, teamwork and competition to significantly accelerate their recovery.

Participants will be able to take advantage of Sheffield’s world class sporting facilities and venues and take part in adaptive sports including athletics, wheelchair basketball, powerlifting, swimming and sitting volleyball. The general public are encouraged to get involved and witness competitors displaying the ‘unconquered spirit’ that was showcased in Sydney last autumn.

The event in Sheffield will also incorporate Team UK’s Trials for the next Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands in May 2020. Veterans and currently serving personnel who are wounded, injured or sick can register to compete at the games by contacting Help for Heroes – http://h4hweb.com/jointeamuk.

At Sydney Team UK won 72 medals and recorded 138 Personal Bests competing against 17 other nations with a team of 72 athletes. They were supported by over 200 friends and family and thousands of spectators. The Invictus Games were created by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the first Invictus Games took place in London and has been followed by events in Orlando, Toronto and Sydney.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“The Invictus Games show the incredible rehabilitative power of sport to help our wounded and injured service personnel and veterans. These new games will ensure we maintain that ‘unconquered spirit’ and momentum of recovery for the special community Invictus has created. Together with Sheffield City Council, Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion we can help those who have life changing conditions, especially those who have sacrificed so much for our country, to lead full and rewarding lives.”

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said:

 “We are delighted to welcome the first Invictus Games Team UK Trials to Sheffield this summer and with it the many wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans taking part. Sheffield is an inclusive city and a city of sport, with a rich military history, the perfect fit to represent the values of these important national championships. We know that sport and physical activity has a huge positive impact on people’s physical and mental wellbeing and that training for and competing in games at this level can make a significant contribution toward rehabilitation for those who have suffered the impact of military action.

“We are extremely grateful for the sacrifice of those who fought bravely so that we can live in peace and security and proud to honour them by hosting the UK trials in Sheffield. I look forward to welcoming servicemen and women from across the UK, including our local Sheffield heroes, and to watching their inspiring performances on the sporting field. I hope this event will be the start of many people’s journey to recovery, unlocking the sheer determination and unconquered spirit that they have shown, once again.”

Peter Smith, Performance Director, Help for Heroes said:

“Since 2014 the Invictus Games have opened up a wealth of opportunities for so many affected by their service and those who care for them through being part of Team UK. We are extremely proud of the progress they have made on their recovery journeys and are delighted that, alongside Sheffield City Council, the Ministry of Defence and The Royal British Legion, we will be able to help even more individuals benefit from the power of sport in 2019.”

Chris Allsop, a former Royal Engineer and triathlete from Sheffield said:

“My goal is the Invictus Games. This is the first small step on that journey, with the Sheffield Games being the first big one. It’s in my home city so try stopping me from going!”

Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, attended the launch event.