Prince Harry Watches Early Contests at His Invictus Games: 'He Has a Natural Affinity with Veterans'
Prince Harry was watching athletes take their first competitive steps at his Invictus Games
Over breakfast at the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013, Prince Harry turned to friend David Wiseman and said: “We’re going to bring this idea back to the U.K. and make it massive.”
Now, two years on from the first Paralympic-style Invictus Games in London, the excitement is building for second event, which will kick off in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday. “It’s going to be such a fantastic atmosphere which the athletes will draw from,” U.K team captain Wiseman says.
While Harry’s hopes for the UK version were big “if he had said there would be the First Lady and former President Bush at a games in Orlando a few years later I would have said ‘wow,’ ” Wiseman adds.
“The world is watching this and hopefully lots of people can drawn inspiration from the amazing men and women competing in sport here. There’s going to be a lot of razzmataz.”
Wiseman, who qualified for four swimming races in preliminary races on Saturday, was speaking to reporters after Harry had visited the swimming pool. “He has been knocking around for the last couple of days. He has a good, natural affinity with the veterans and service personnel,” he tells PEOPLE.
“He belongs to that community and he can just rock up and whoever you are can stand here having a chat with the competitors. It’s natural, it’s genuine.”
Wiseman, whose wife Lucy, 33, and children Luke, 6, and Jessica, 4, are watching him in Florida, was commanding a small British Infantry team embedded within the Afghan National Army in Helmand Province in 2009 when he was shot in the chest whilst conducting a fighting patrol that came into contact with the Taliban.
He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012, a condition which he says is now manageable thanks to the treatment he received alongside his physical rehabilitation.
“What we have to remember is that they serve alongside us,” he said of the families joining in the fun atmosphere in Florida. “When I was injured, I don’t know what I would have done without the support of my family.”
He also joined Harry in another mission – to help rebuild a school in Nepal with the charity Team Rubicon.
After visiting the pool, Harry moved inside to the sitting volleyball contest between the British and Afghanistan teams.
When the U.K team was announced, he loyally raised his arms as those in the bleachers cheered.
At one point Harry sat among the crowd on the leachers in the Jostens center. “Are you enjoying it?” he asked one group.
“This is just the beginning. When the doors open after Sunday it’s going to be electric.”
And he was offered some memorabilia by an Australian competitor. “Do you want a real jacket,” the Aussie called out. Harry declined!
Moving between veterans and competitors alike one man showed off his tattoo on the top of his chest, and Harry playfully grabbed at it.