Prince Harry launches Invictus Games, girlfriend Meghan Markle attends

Britain’s Prince Harry speaks during the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto. (FAP)
Updated 24 September 2017

Prince Harry launches Invictus Games, girlfriend Meghan Markle attends

TORONTO: Prince Harry launched the third Invictus Games on Saturday for disabled or wounded soldiers and veterans as he made his first public appearance with his girlfriend Meghan Markle.
Wearing a brown leather jacket over her shoulders, the American actress was seated a few rows behind the British royal who took his place at the opening ceremony alongside US First Lady Melania Trump.
“The Invictus Games are a unique and powerful way to honor those who have sacrificed so much on behalf of their country,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Prince Harry and Melania Trump — dressed in a houndstooth suit — spoke for a few minutes in the afternoon, posing for photographs before the prince headed to give out the first medals of the Games at the driving challenge competition.
The prince, dressed in a blue blazer and beige pants, spent some time with athletes following a tour of Toronto’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health, which his late mother Diana visited 26 years ago.
He met hospital staff and young patients before greeting fans and posing for pictures outside.
Fans and the press have been eagerly awaiting the first official public appearance of the prince and Markle since the “Suits” actress, 36, told Vanity Fair the couple are “in love” in an interview published early this month.
According to his schedule, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson plans to stay at Markle’s Toronto home for the entire eight days of the Games.
In his address, Prince Harry said the games were “not only to help veterans recover from their physical and mental wounds, but also to inspire people to follow their example of resilience, optimism and service in their own lives.”
After last year’s Games in Orlando, Florida, the third edition of the Games in Toronto brings together more than 550 injured soldiers and veterans from 17 countries.
The first Invictus Games, based on the Paralympic Games, were held in September 2014 in London. They were launched by Prince Harry, who served with the British Army in Afghanistan.
This year’s Games are taking place in Canada, which is marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of its confederation and the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France during World War I.
Canadian pop artists Sarah McLachlan and Alessia Cara and British soprano Laura Wright performed at the opening ceremony.
American rocker Bruce Springsteen will headline the closing ceremony on September 30, joined by Canada’s Bryan Adams and Quebecois artist Coeur de Pirate.

Pakistan's Azhar Ali signs for Somerset

Pakistan's Azhar Ali celebrates reaching his century during a match between England and Pakistant on August 4, 2016. (Reuters file)
Updated 16 July 2018

Pakistan's Azhar Ali signs for Somerset

  • Azhar is set to make his Somerset debut against Worcestershire later this month

LONDON: Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has joined Somerset for the remainder of their first-class English County Championship fixtures this season, the southwest club said Monday.

The 33-year-old replaces Australia opener Matt Renshaw, who made three hundreds at 51.30 in the opening rounds of the Championship before breaking a finger against Surrey at Guildford last month.

Azhar is set to make his Somerset debut against Worcestershire later this month.

"The standard of first-class cricket in England is very high and I hope that I can make a contribution to Somerset winning matches," Azhar told his new county's website.

"I have heard good things about Somerset and I was impressed by what I saw at Taunton in 2016 (when Pakistan opened their tour of England that year against the county).

"I am looking forward to joining my new team mates and meeting the Somerset supporters soon."

Azhar struggled during Pakistan's three Tests against Ireland and England earlier this season, making 73 runs in six innings although his lone fifty did come during Pakistan's impressive victory over England at Lord's.

"Finding the right fit at short notice can be challenging, however we are delighted to have secured a player of Azhar Ali's character, pedigree and class for the remaining seven Specsavers County Championship matches," said Somerset's director of cricket, Andy Hurry.

"His experience at the top of the order will prove to be hugely valuable at the business end of the season.

"I have spoken to him several times over the last few weeks and he is very keen to share his knowledge of the game with our aspirational players, so the influence he can have within the changing room will also be vital for us as a club."