UK

Prince takes on 'little Harry' at Invictus Games trials

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Media captionTwo-year-old Harry's father, Dan Phillips, was trying out for a place in the shot put, discus and archery events

Prince Harry was challenged to an impromptu boxing session with a toddler as he visited athletes vying for a place at this year's Invictus Games.

The 32-year-old knelt down to spar with two-year-old Harry Phillips, at the UK team trials at the University of Bath sports training village.

The prince, who founded the games, joined servicemen and women competing for a place in Toronto in September.

In total, 306 athletes have applied for the 2017 games.

The injured military personnel and veterans at the trials hope to be selected as part of the 90-strong UK team that will head to Canada.

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Dan Phillips, 35, from Seaford near Brighton, brought son Harry to cheer him on as he tried out for a place in the shot put, discus and archery events.

"He was more talking to the little man," said Mr Phillips, who was medically discharged from his role as a corporal due to a spinal cord injury.

"I wanted to introduce Harry to Harry. Big Harry was teaching little Harry to box.

"I was absolutely chuffed to bits. We call him our Prince Harry so getting the chance to meet the real thing is amazing.

"He certainly loved it. Prince Harry told us 'he has to come to the games' so fingers crossed."

When asked who won the boxing, two-year-old Harry replied: "Me."

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Of the 306 hopefuls who have applied to take part in the 2017 games, 212 have not taken part before.

Over three days, they will contest in athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, road cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming, sitting volleyball and wheelchair tennis.

'Invictus family'

The prince, wearing an I AM badge for the games, cheered on those aiming for a place on the teams during a short speech at the university.

"Thank you so much for putting in the effort up until this point," he told them.

"This is the Invictus family so make the most of it and enjoy it."

Prince Harry also visited the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation and watched demonstrations of research aimed at preventing injuries in the sport.

Former professional player Matt Attwood, 33, was clad only in a pair of underpants and a hat - along with 50 sensors - when he met Prince Harry to discuss the work.

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Major Bruce Ekman, 37, who serves with 16 Air Assault Brigade in Colchester, Essex, also spoke to Prince Harry.

"He is so personal - he talks to someone about what he has seen on their Twitter page," Major Ekman said.

"He is a prince for everyone, he is so approachable. All of us serving or ex-military - everyone holds him in such high esteem."

Major Ekman suffered a shattered ankle and heel in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in Afghanistan in 2011.

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