As Prince Harry hits the headlines again this weekend as he attends the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games, royal watchers and sports fans from all around the world will no doubt be tuning in to the next nine days of nail biting sport.

Yet unlike other international sporting competitions, one thing that makes the Invictus Games unique, is that all of the competitors are wounded servicemen, women and veterans who are hoping to represent their countries once more and secure a hard fought victory.

Well known to be associated with the Prince, who in fact founded the games back in 2014, we've rounded up a list of everything you need to know about the Invictus Games.

The origins

As an ex-soldier himself, Prince Harry has always been fascinated with the stories and experiences of his peers in the military and back in 2013, while he was was still an active serviceman, he was given the opportunity to visit the Warrior Games in the USA.

The event, which is hosted by the US Ministry of Defence, is essentially a sporting competition held for wounded personnel – and it was an idea that Harry soon “stole” (his own words!) to bring the event to the UK and help other wounded veterans around the world.

"He saw how the power of sport could help physically, psychologically and socially,” a statement on the Invictus Games website explained.

"His mind was made up. London would host the inaugural Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel.”

Just one year later, in 2014, the very first Invictus Games kicked off in London.

Prince Harry’s involvement

After helping to bring the first event to life, Prince Harry was keen to ensure that it became a regular fixture of the sporting calendar and firmly committed to remain involved with the project after seeing how much good it could do.

Since it’s inception, the Prince has remained a patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, and has attended every single edition of the games so far, including the current games taking place in Düsseldorf, where he will be joined by his wife Meghan Markle.

Why is it called Invictus?

One question that seems to be on many fans minds, is why exactly the games are called Invictus.

The word itself, means “unconquerable” or “undefeated” in Latin, and is a true testament to the resilience and perseverance of those injured in the line of duty.

Inspired by a poem, written by amputee William Ernest Henley, the games also draws inspiration from his iconic poem, which is entitled Invictus.

"It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post injury," explains the Games' website.

"The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country.”

The competition

Comprised of 10 sports, competitors will face off against each other in a variety of events ranging from archery to power lifting, wheelchair basketball to athletics and for the first time this Games, table tennis will also be included.

The full list of sports are as follows:

  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Indoor Rowing
  • Power Lifting
  • Sitting Volleyball
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Wheelchair Basketball
  • Wheelchair Rugby
  • Table Tennis

Which countries are taking part?

In addition to the introduction of a new sport, two new nations will also be taking part, Israel and Columbia, brining the total number of competing countries up to 21, with participants from all corner of the world being invited to represent their nations on the global stage.

The full list of countries competing are:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Columbia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jordan
  • Netherlands
  • Nigeria
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • South Korea
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

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