British bid launched to host Invictus Games

Prince Harry watches the Invictus Games
The Invictus Games were founded by Prince Harry in 2014

The government has launched a bid to host the 2027 Invictus Games in Birmingham, during a pitch held at the NEC on Thursday.

The £26m bid is being made through the Office for Veterans' Affairs, with the final decision over the host city to be made by the Invictus Games Foundation.

Thousands of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women have competed in the games since they began in 2014.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer, said: "The Office for Veterans’ Affairs is proudly backing a bid to bring the Invictus Games to Britain in 2027.

“The announcement of £26m puts the UK another step closer to being the global leader in veterans’ recovery, and demonstrates this government’s commitment to our ex-servicemen and women who sacrificed so much for us all in the line of duty.

"As I saw first-hand in Dusseldorf last year, the Invictus Games really is a festival of recovery, showcasing some of the very best of our veteran community, and I hope to see it return home in 2027."

'Dream come true'

Mr Mercer told BBC Breakfast that Washington had also made a bid to host the games, which are the brainchild of Prince Harry.

"It’s all about the power of Invictus and selling Invictus as a vision and a movement," he said.

"I genuinely, authentically believe this is the best country in the world to be a veteran. The power of sport in recovery is well known and it would be a real privilege if we can put together a good bid."

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer
"The Invictus Games really is a festival of recovery," Mr Mercer said

RAF veteran Michelle Turner, who has competed in two Invictus Games, said the UK hosting the tournament again would be a dream come true.

She told the BBC: "The Invictus Games is like nothing on Earth - I can’t even describe it.

"Don’t get me wrong, there is fierce competition, but equally we cheer on the person that’s come in last because it’s about the journey of how they’ve got to that start line and just cheering them on to the finish line.”

Sgt Turner has a heart condition which leads her to collapse unannounced, as well as causing exhaustion and extreme dizziness.

RAF veteran Michelle Turner
Michelle Turner said the Invictus Games was like nothing on Earth

“I was absolutely broken. I didn’t leave my house for six months. I didn’t want to wake up on any more floors," she said.

“I remember I was in hospital and my husband put his hand on the blanket and said we’ve had an email from the Invictus Games – please give it a go, we’re losing you.

"I was like I can’t do that, I can’t go and do a sporting competition, but it’s incredible what the power of sport does.

“He wanted to get me back and that’s exactly what Invictus does. And it grows bigger and bigger every year.”

Jonny Ball, the founder of Campaign Force UK and a former Invictus Games competitor, featured in the government’s promotional video which aired on Thursday.

Mr Ball said: “It’s really important, we need to bring the Invictus Games home back to the UK in 2027.

“We need to sprinkle the Invictus magic back in our country. Let’s bring it home, let’s go to the UK, let’s go.”

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said the city was one of two shortlisted to host the 2027 games.

"The outstanding work of staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the strong links with the armed forces and their families would make Birmingham the ideal host city for the 2027 Invictus Games," the spokesperson added.

The authority said a "new delivery model" developed with partners, required "no financial input", but maximised local opportunities.

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