Following several other coronavirus-related sporting announcements over the past few weeks, Prince Harry has cancelled the Invictus Games due to the spread of the illness. The Royal revealed the news in a video via the Invictus Games' social media pages, explaining why he and the organisers had been forced to come to the decision, and sharing his sadness over having to do so.
Calling it an "incredibly difficult decision," Harry explained that the Games, which were meant to be held in May in The Hague, The Netherlands, were going to be postponed until 2021.
"I’m so grateful for everybody who has worked so incredibly hard over the last couple of week to try and find any alternative to try and carry out these games, in a different way and in a safe way," the Prince began. “But this decision was the most sensible and the safest option for all of you and your families as well as everybody else involved in these games."
Harry acknowledged everyone involved would likely be upset by the decision, saying, “I know how disappointed you all must be. This is a focus that so many of you need."
However, the Royal encouraged anyone planning to take part to still continue to work towards the Games, which will now hopefully happen in 2021. “The good thing is 12 or so months to be even fitter, to get even fitter than you already are and be at your absolute top mental and physical fitness so in that sense I am really excited about the games next year," he said.
As well as the announcement from Prince Harry, the Invictus Games Foundation also released a statement, which read: "The decision was also taken in recognition of the anticipated strain on medical staff and the infrastructure required in dealing with the pandemic. We did not wish to add to the complexity of the response, or increase the risk to those involved, by bringing together an international and potentially vulnerable audience."
They also added that they would be looking to re-schedule the event for May or June 2021.
This is not the first major sporting event which has been cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Premier League Football in the UK has been ruled out until at least April, while the London Marathon has been postponed until October, to name but a few.