THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Competition at the Invictus Games got underway Saturday with a driving challenge around an automotive obstacle course ahead of an evening opening ceremony being attended by the games’ founder, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan.
Harry founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military service members and veterans, by giving them the challenge of competing in sports events similar to the Paralympics. This year’s competition is taking place in the Dutch city of The Hague.
Ahead of the opening ceremony, he got up close to the action when he was driven around the obstacle course. The couple later waved to spectators as they were driven around in miniature Land Rover cars with children at the wheel.
On Friday, the duke and duchess of Sussex, as Harry and Meghan are also known, attended a welcome event for competitors and their friends and family, joining them at the event that runs through April 22.
It was the couple’s first public appearance in Europe since they gave up their formal royal roles and moved to the U.S. more than two years ago.
Among some 500 competitors from 20 nations taking part in the games is a team of 19 from Ukraine — many of them taking a brief break from defending their country against the Russian invasion that triggered a devastating war.
The competitors take part in athletics, archery, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby, as well as Saturday’s driving challenge organized by one of the event’s official partners, car maker Jaguar Land Rover.