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Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014

World

Wounded soldiers do battle at Prince Harry's Invictus Games

AFP | Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014

Prince Harry with the Australian Invictus team.

LONDON - Injured troops from around the world are to do battle in London this week at Prince Harry's Invictus Games, which get under way Wednesday with a vibrant opening ceremony.

The prince, a British army captain who served two tours in Afghanistan, is the driving force behind the four days of competition across nine sports.

More than 400 wounded troops from 13 countries -- both serving and veterans -- will go for gold at the Olympic Park, site of the London 2012 Games.

Though there will be plenty at stake for the injured service personnel, there is also a lot riding on them for Harry, who turns 30 on Monday.

Fourth in line to the throne, Harry -- who will be pushed down to fifth by his brother Prince William's second child, due next year -- is trying to carve out a more mature role for himself, away from the wild-child image of his younger days.

"I don't feel too old, I think I am always young at heart," the royal said.

The prince has taken up the cause of rehabilitating injured troops, trekking with maimed veterans to the South Pole in December.

"It's about supporting these individuals who have signed up to serve their country and wherever it takes them," Harry said.

The prince said the worry that people might forget about the troops suffering the effects of conflicts such as Afghanistan once those wars faded from the headlines "should be a fear for everybody".

"We are going to see lives that have been changed by the way they have been injured -- and then changed by this," he said, referring to the inaugural Invictus Games.

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