Prince Harry has left competitors for the upcoming Invictus Games nearly in tears after he surprised them with a video call from his home in California.
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The room erupted into laughter when the Duke of Sussex teased competitors over the time they've had to prepare for the Games, which were last held in 2019. "You realise that no-one, not just you guys, no-one's got any excuses for not being fit now," he teased. The event took place at a final training camp for those involved before the Games take place in the Netherlands during April.
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Harry also prompted laughter as he spoke to his former royal army physical training corps instructor Vic Wales. "Is my PTI from Sandhurst in here somewhere?" he asked.
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When he spotted her, he jested: "I can't believe after, how many years, 15 years, our paths are about to cross again. You used to shout at me so much."
Vic then shot back that the royal "needed it" to which he jokingly agreed with her.
Vic will be taking part in five events during the Invictus Games: rowing, cycling, archery, powerlifting and athletics. She was medically discharged from the British Army 11 years ago, after she broke her back during a training exercise.
The Duke surprised athletes with a video call
In a small team talk, Harry added: "For a lot of you, you've already, as far as I'm concerned, you've already won gold by just getting to this point.
"The fact that you are sitting there now wearing that strip and you are able to wear the Union Jack on your arm again, that means so much to every single one of you."
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The athletes were surprised by the call from the Duke, with vice-captain Kelly Leonard saying: "I was nearly in tears when he gave us a team talk. It was really rousing.
"The message was about what Invictus is about, that resilience and that journey. It was really wonderful to see him."
His comments prompted laughter
Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014, an international adaptive multi-sport event in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans participate. It celebrates the power of sport in recovery and how it can help, physically or psychologically, those suffering from injuries or illness.
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The first event took place in London and since then has been held in Orlando in 2016, Toronto in 2017 and Sydney in 2018.
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