Harry sends good luck message to ‘inspirational’ Special Olympics GB Team

The Duke of Sussex has sent a good luck message to the Special Olympics Great Britain Team.

On the eve of the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, Harry told the athletes: “While you compete over the next two weeks, know that you are an inspiration to us all, especially your friends and families.”

Special Olympics GB has sent its biggest delegation of athletes ever to compete in the event, with 128 athletes from England, Scotland and Wales competing across 17 sports.

They are among more than 7,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from over 190 countries who are competing in 28 sports over five days.

Harry meets athletes in trials for his own sporting tournament the Invictus Games (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

The duke’s message, which was signed “Harry”, was read to the athletes at a special event on Wednesday to mark the start of the tournament on Thursday.

Wishing them “the best of luck”, Harry told the team they were united in one aim – of breaking down barriers and changing attitudes.

“You should all be incredibly proud of what you have achieved simply by getting on that plane to Abu Dhabi and representing your country,” he said.

“While l am sure you are all fiercely driven to win, the Special Olympics – and sport in general – is about much more than just the competition; it’s about community cohesion, building friendships and inspiring confidence.

“You’ve all been on your own personal journeys to get there, but are united in one shared aim: to break down barriers and change attitudes.

“You’ve prepared so well for this moment, so go out there and enjoy every second of it. We’re all supporting you!”

Michelle Carney, chief executive of Special Olympics GB, said: “The whole team – athletes and volunteer coaches and staff – could not believe it when they heard the duke’s message. The reaction was incredible.

Another superb day in Abu Dhabi with #TeamSOGB@WorldGamesAD@SOGreatBritain#LovingLife#MeetTheDetermined#MakingSpecialOlympicsGBfamous ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/3Zxo01u246

— Michelle Carney (@CEO_SOGB) March 12, 2019

“Special Olympics Great Britain is often described as the best-kept secret in sport and we are on a mission to change that.

“To have received the support and a message from the Duke of Sussex is not only a huge boost to us as an organisation but to all the children and adults with intellectual disabilities, whether they are competing in the World Games or not.

“We feel very honoured and grateful.”

Special Olympics Great Britain is a non-profit charity which provides year-round sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.