Real Life

"Prince Harry is the reason for all of it!" Competitors Jeff Wright & Corporal Sonya Newman on the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games

The inspiring duo hope to make the national team.

By Chloe Lal
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are about to jet Down Under for the 2018 Invictus Games.
The newlyweds will be here in October, with the competition taking place in Sydney.
Today, tickets for the iconic event went on sale.
To celebrate, Now To Love caught up with two of Australia's star competitors from the 2017 Toronto Games, Jeff Wright and Corporal Sonya Newman.
Watch our chat with Jeff in the video above!
And it became very clear, while Sydney is about to welcome royalty, the country will really be bowing down to these remarkable athletes.
"He's so warm!" Sonya has nothing but praise for the new Duke of Sussex.
Jeff had a hoot with Prince Harry.
Jeff served in the army for 17 years. The 49-year-old paraplegic represented Australia in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and swimming.
And he just loved it.
"It was fantastic," Jeff told us at the Invictus Games press conference at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney this morning.
The veteran made it very clear that the event was so much more than a competition - it's about the people.
Jeff made us all laugh when he admitted Prince Harry wasn't too crash hot at wheelchair basketball: "Look, as a basketballer, he makes a good Prince!"
The veteran has represented Australia in two wheelchair sports, including basketball and rugby.
Jeff hopes to make the national team again.
"One of the things that really stood out to me were the people."
"The experience was just fantastic. There are some really good players from around the world and knowing that I'm competing against the very best in the world is just incredible," Jeff explained.
Sonya echoed her teammate's sentiment.
"There's nothing quite like it in the world," Sonya told Now To Love.
"We're all there to give it our best but it's more than a competition. We're all so supportive of each other and it's incredible seeing that camaraderie between all the athletes."
Sonya told us that one of the highlights from last year was taking home a medal and having her two kids share the podium with her.
Prince Harry founded the event in 2014.
The 36-year-old Corporal joined the armed services back in 1999. While serving, Sonya's right leg was amputated below the knee.
Sonya's loved ones were supportive and instrumental to her recovery - but the veteran explained that it was her fellow Invictus athletes that truly understand the strength it takes to get there.
"You form such a unique bond with everyone because we've all experienced similar things," she revealed at the bottom of the Fleet Steps - the backdrop for this year's cycling and sailing events.
"We understand each other's struggle with injury – this mentality of 'soldiering on' can be detrimental to your mental state."
The mum-of-two added, "It's something we can all relate to – and that's what bonds us.""We all support each other."
WATCH: Ian Thorpe on the power of the Invictus Games. Post continues...
Meghan and Harry will be in Australia for the games.
Talking to both athletes, who hope to find out in mid-June if they've earned a spot on the 2018 Australian Invictus Games team, it's clear this special community is all thanks to Prince Harry.
Sonya told us, "To have him championing the games has helped make it what it is. We couldn't have the Invictus Games without him."
"The fact that he gets what we went through is so important.. At the end of the day, he's also a guy that's served."
After meeting the newly-minted Duke of Sussex at the games in Toronto, Sonya has many fond memories with Harry.
"He's so warm and chats to you like you're anyone."
"He's so approachable. Harry is the reason for all of it and brings us all together."
Jeff agreed. And it sounds like the pair got on like a house on fire.
When we asked the wheelchair basketballer if Prince Harry would be a good competitor at his sport, Jeff instantly laid down some very funny trash talk.
Laughing, he said, "Look, as a basketballer, he makes a good Prince!"
Bring on October!
To buy tickets, head to the official Invictus Games website here
Harry is the embodiment of the Invictus spirit.

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The Games will take place between October 20-27.