The Hague – The Invictus Games The Hague 2020, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, are about to begin. Competitors in the event for international wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans, gathered for the first time Friday afternoon at Zuiderpark in The Hague. The gathering was also attended by the Invictus Games Foundation Patron The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
left to right: Duke of Sussex, Fenna Geugjes, Bertine Schuurhuis with baby Liva, Arild Geugjes and Duchess of Sussex (photo: Getty Images for Invictus Games The Hague 2020)
Nearly 2,000 people, including 500 participants and their Friends & Family, gathered at the Nations Home yesterday at an event to honour Friends and Family members.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were welcomed at the entrance by the Mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen, State Secretary of Defense Christophe van der Maat and Mart de Kruif, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020.
On their way from the main stadium, where the Opening Ceremony will take place Saturday night with 5,000 visitors, to the Nations Home, The Duke and Duchess were accompanied by Dutch Invictus Games competitor Fenna Geugjes, her wife Bertine, their daughter Liva and Fenna’s brother Arild. The event was to thank Friends & Family in recognition of their importance in the recovery journey post injury or illness.
Geugjes’ life changed abruptly when she was injured in a parachute jump in 2015. Her work in the Royal Navy suddenly became too taxing, with prolonged standing, running and a lot of walking costing her, even after several operations. She suffered a permanent disability to her ankle and a hearing impairment as a result of a blast. The uncertainty and misery challenged her physically and mentally. Thanks in part to her involvement in the Invictus Games, Fenna considers herself recovered. The 31-year-old Geugjes and The Duke had already met digitally in the run-up to the Invictus Games The Hague; on that occasion Fenna tried to help the Duke learn some Dutch words.
Upon entering the Nations Home for the Friends and Family reception, the Ukrainians received a big applause from the other participating countries. Earlier in the afternoon, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined a Welcome Event for Team US and Team Ukraine at the US Embassy in the Hague, attended also by the US Presidential Delegation, including Secretary for Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and Ukrainian Dignitaries, including Drahanchuk Inna, the Deputy Minister for Veteran Affairs for Ukraine.
At the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, 500 competitors will participate in ten different sports, including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, cycling, indoor rowing and wheelchair rugby.