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Harry calls on Invictus spectators

Prince Harry has called on undecided spectators to be part of the Invictus Games as he welcomed team captains to the capital.

With just a few days to go until the Paralympics-style competition for wounded servicemen and women begins, Harry urged those thinking about buying a ticket not to miss out on an "inspirational event".

Team captains from all 13 competing countries were formally welcomed at the central London offices of global accountants PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), an official supporter of the event.

Harry posed for a picture with the group, some in wheelchairs or wearing prosthetic limbs, with London's skyline in the background.

In a video message released today Harry greeted the teams: "I'd like to extend the warmest welcome to all competitors taking part in the Invictus Games who have now arrived in London.

"I know how hard you've been working over the last few months and the British public - indeed the world - can't wait to see you compete in just a few days' time in our nation's capital city.

"To anyone else still thinking about buying tickets to the Games - don't hesitate. It's going to be an inspirational event and you won't want to miss out."

More than 400 competitors, both serving military personnel and veterans, will go head to head in nine adaptive sports at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Lee Valley Athletics Centre in London over four days from Thursday.

Alongside the UK team will be competitors from the US, Denmark, Estonia, France and Italy, Canada, Holland, Australia, Afghanistan, Georgia, New Zealand and Germany.

Italy's captain Gianfranco Paglia, a serving Italian officer, chatted to the Prince and said afterwards: "For us, the challenge is to let everybody know how important it is for wounded soldiers to go back to wearing the uniform. For us, the first victory is back to service."

Lieutenant Colonel Paglia is wheelchair-bound after being hit by a hail of bullets when his unit was ambushed while serving in Somalia in 1993.

The officer, who will compete in swimming and powerlifting events, added: "We wanted Harry to know that we take care of our wounded soldiers and our target is to get them not to civilian life but back to service."

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