Invictus Games lights up London with one week to go to buy tickets
Today marks one week to go until the Invictus Games and last night the international sports event for ‘wounded warriors’ was already lighting up the capital with a giant projection across Tower Bridge.
As darkness fell, ‘I AM Invictus’ shone across the Thames onto each tower of one of London’s most iconic landmarks. The message came as the final countdown began to the event launched by Prince Harry in March, with just one week left for Londoners to get their tickets at www.invictusgames.org
Next Wednesday 10 September sees the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover. Four days of sporting action will follow at venues made famous by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, before a spectacular Closing Concert on Sunday 14 September headlined by the Foo Fighters.
‘I AM’ has become a signature for the more than 400 wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, serving and veteran from 13 nations that have served alongside one another, who will do battle in nine adaptive sports. Invictus is the Latin for ‘unconquered’, a word that embodies their fighting spirit and what they can achieve, post-injury. William Ernest Henley’s famous 1875 poem of the same title proclaims strength in the face of adversity and ends: ‘I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul’. People have been Tweeting #I AM in support.
One of those representing the home nation is British Army veteran Lance Corporal Derek Derenalagi. In 2007 he was on a tour of duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). The 39-year-old, born in Fiji, was pronounced dead before medical staff preparing his body for a body bag found a pulse. Derenalagi lost both legs as a result of his injuries. He went on to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Summer Paralympics and next week goes for Gold in the 100m, 200m, Shot and Discus.
LCpl Derek Derenalagi said: “My journey from losing my legs in Afghanistan to where I am today has not been easy. There have been so many ups and downs along the way. But it’s all worth it. Sport has really changed the way that I look at things. Taking challenges as they come has really helped my recovery. I’m just so thankful to be alive today. Losing my lower limbs, it’s not really a big deal. To be part of the British Armed Forces team in the Invictus Games and doing four different disciplines, I’m looking forward to it. I’ll try to make us all proud.”
My journey from losing my legs in Afghanistan to where I am today has not been easy. There have been so many ups and downs along the way. But it’s all worth it. Sport has really changed the way that I look at things. Taking challenges as they come has really helped my recovery
Lance Corporal Derek Derenalagi
Speaking at Tower Bridge last night Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of the Invictus Games, said: “It was just six months back when Prince Harry launched the Invictus Games at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Now one week from the Opening Ceremony it’s fitting to see the emblem of the Invictus Games up in lights. We’re ready for four days of inspirational sport and I’d urge anyone who hasn’t yet got tickets to get them fast. Ultimately we want to shine a light on all those who serve their country and on those who are now on a journey of recovery.”
The Invictus Games will use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country. They are being organised with the support and backing of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Lee Valley Athletics Centre will host the events thanks to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the London Legacy Development Corporation, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, DCMS and Sport England.
Tickets cost £12.85 and are on sale at www.invictusgames.org