A German news report says “signs appear to be in favour” of Duesseldorf, the German city against which Greater Victoria is competing to host the 2022 Invictus Games. Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of Duesseldorf, is travelling to London Wednesday and is scheduled to appear at a press conference at Germany’s embassy in London (Youtube).

German media report suggests Greater Victoria losing bid to host 2022 Invictus Games

Duesseldorf’s Lord Mayor is travelling to London Wednesday with press conference scheduled Thursday

Greater Victoria will find out later this week whether it will host the 2022 edition of the Invictus Games, but a report from German media says “signs appear to be in favour” of the competing bid from Duesseldorf.

The report appears in Die Welt, which reports that Duesseldorf’s Lord Mayor Thomas Geisel is scheduled to appear at a press conference Thursday at Germany’s embassay in London, the implication being that Geisel would not be travelling to London in case of a losing bid. Geisel has said in a Youtube video (in German) that he plans to travel to London Wednesday.

He also uses the video to discuss the genesis of his city’s bid as well as its characteristics.

Geisel said among other points that Duesseldorf had entered its bid at the request of the German defence ministry.

He also said that Duesseldorf can “genuinely say” that it has had experience hosting large sporting events in expressing confidence in the bid.

“As I said, we are confident,” he said. “We have competition, but I hope that our presentation, but also our facilities, and above all our tradition of being a sympathetic, hospitable city, which will greet athletes, their families, and friends, in a welcoming manner, will hopefully contribute much to us winning the bid.”

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The Peninsula News Review has reached out to Peter Lawless, who heads Victoria’s bid, as well as a spokesperson for the Invictus Games Foundation for comment.

Sam Neil, communications director with the Invictus Games Foundation, said in an email that the announcement of the next host city is “due later this week.” Neil has not yet responded to follow up questions about the exact date of the announcement or the meaning of Geisel’s scheduled appearance at the German embassy, key among them the question of whether it means that Duesseldorf has won the bid.

“Mid January remains when I understand they will make their announcement,” Lawless said in an email dated Dec. 30, when asked about the timing of the announcement.

Notably, he did not respond to questions about whether he or anyone else connected to the Greater Victoria bid had contact with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the patron of the Invictus Games, while he was vacationing in the area. Lawless has not responded to follow up questions.

Wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their veterans associations compete across multiple sports in the Invictus Games, created by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. The name of the competition stems from a poem titled Invictus (Latin for unconquered) by English poet by William Ernest Henley in which the author (himself an amputee) celebrates physical and mental perseverance in the face of daunting odds.

Duesseldorf is Germany’s seventh largest city. It lies in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is readily accessible by virtue of being a major transportation hub. Located on the Rhine River, the city and its surrounding urban areas also boast a wide variety of facilities and cultural attractions, prompting Mercer, a global consulting company, to rank Duesseldorf as the sixth most livable city in the world, behind Vancouver (2nd place) but ahead of several major cities around the world.

Editor’s note: The reporter provided translations from the original German documents sourced for this story.


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