Ploiesti has been recently chosen as the first city – in a series of six – where there are held meetings with Romanian soldiers who were wounded in the theaters of military operations, and who will attend to the Invictus Paralympic Games in Toronto, Canada. They have been accompanied by Prince Radu, given that the Invictus Volunteers Association of Romania is under the High Patronage of His Royal Highness. Invictus is the motto of the association patronized by Prince Harry of Great Britain worldwide, and by Prince Radu at the national level, gathering wounded soldiers that don’t give up the fight.
According to a press release of the Royal House of Romania, His Royal Highness Prince Radu visited on March 9, 2017, the National College “Ion Luca Caragiale” in Ploiesti, together with two Invictus heroes – NCO Eugen Manaila and Colonel Dorin Petrut, both of them wounded in the frontline in Afghanistan and Iraq, who will attend to the Invictus Paralympic Games in Toronto. The two soldiers are members of the Invictus Volunteers Association, which is under the High Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Radu. The first meeting in a series of six was held in Ploiesti, aiming to share with young people principles and values of those who love their country to sacrifice. “The Invictus Volunteers Association is under the High Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Radu. Romanian soldiers who are active or in reserve or retired, wounded in the theaters of operations, who served their country with patriotism, courage and professionalism in Afghanistan and Iraq, are supported in their efforts by Invictus Volunteers Association, which promotes the exemplary effort of the soldiers to actively reintegrate in the Romanian life and to make a high sport performance” was mentioned in the press release.
Students of the “Ion Luca Caragiale” College in Ploiesti, being present in an impressive number, wished to find out as much information as possible about Invictus Volunteers Association, about the military coat and the preparation of the athlete soldiers who will participate at the Invictus Paralympic Games in Toronto. For the first time, Romania will participate to the Invictus Games competition at Toronto, Canada, which will be held in September this year; 550 athlete soldiers from 14 countries will attend to it, competing in seven different sports events.
The two officers who accompanied Prince Radu at Ploiesti shared to the students of the above mentioned college their experiences from the theaters of operations. Colonel Eugen Petrut is 53 years old and he’s from Bucharest; he told them how he was wounded because he defended a British officer with his own body. On the other hand, he proudly told them that his ancestors appear in the famous novel written by Camil Petrescu “The Last Night of Love, The First Night of War”, modestly acknowledging that he himself can be deemed a hero of our days. The other soldier present at Ploiesti, NCO Eugen Manaila, has been seriously wounded in Afghanistan in 2010, but he said he succeeded to walk again, with the help of sport. He will now be part of the Invictus team, like Colonel Eugen Petrut, representing Romania for the first time, this year, at the Paralympic games held at Toronto, specially dedicated to the wounded soldiers.
The initiative of telling students about the sacrifice, the courage and the comradeship of the Romanian soldiers belongs to the Povestasii Association, which is not at its first visit at the “Ion Luca Caragiale” College in Ploiesti, in a journey which covers the entire country; it will bring heroes and those who are seeking heroes in the same place.
The Invictus Paralympic Games are a multi-sports event created in the UK under the patronage of Prince Harry, were wounded soldiers or the sick staff of the military services can participate in sports competitions, including basketball in the wheelchair, or rowing.
Named after Invictus, which is a Latin term for “unconquered” or “undefeated”, the event was inspired by the Warrior Games, held in the US. The first Invictus Paralymic Games were held in 2014, in UK, given that following a visit made in 2013 at the Warrior Games, USA, where wounded people, military staff and sick and wounded military veterans have competed, Prince Harry was inspired to create an expanded international version. Thus, Invictus Paralympic Games were held at London in the autumn of 2014, attracting more than 450 competitors and 13 countries. The second edition of this competition was held in Orlando, Florida, in May, 2016, and 500 competitors from 15 countries have attended to it. At this edition, Prince Harry announced that Toronto will host the 2017 edition of the Invictus Paralympic Games.
The event will take place between September 23 and 30, and more than 550 sick and wounded soldiers from 14 allied countries can be seen. The Invictus Games prove the relentless unity of the soldiers and veterans in overcoming obstacles, and especially the power of sports in their journey to recover themselves.
Canada is the host of this edition in the context in which this year, this country celebrates 150 years since the establishment of the Confederation, in 1867, providing a unique opportunity for Canadians to commemorate and honor their wounded and sick soldiers, as well as their families.