Prince Harry cancels Invictus Games for 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 30:  Price Harry attends the Wheelchair Basketball Final Gold match during the Invictus Games 2017  at Mattamy Athletic Centre on September 30, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation )
Prince Harry has had to call off his Invictus Games for 2020. Photo: Getty

Prince Harry has cancelled the 2020 Invictus Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attends the launch of Team UK, selected for the 'Invictus Games The Hague 2020' at Honourable Artillery Company in  east London on  October 29, 2019. (Photo by Paul Grover / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAUL GROVER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Harry attending the launch of Team UK, selected for the 'Invictus Games The Hague 2020. Photo: Getty

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.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend wheelchair tennis on day 3 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 on September 25, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.  The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for the Armed Forces.  (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Meghan and Prince Harry attend wheelchair tennis on day 3 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017. Photo: Getty

“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.”

READ MORE: All the events cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus

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.

With additional reporting by Bang Showbiz.

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