Steve Sebburn, 39, met Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle while attending the cycling and running trials for the Sydney games in September.
He finished second in his category in the cycle trials on Thursday, April 5, but unfortunately was unable to compete in the athletic trials on the following Friday as he had injured his right calf three weeks earlier.
Steve, from Dan-y-Crug, said: “I finished second in the cycle trials in my category which was a massive improvement from last year’s cycle trials, so even though I didn’t win it I was only just behind. On the Friday was my athletic trials but three weeks prior I had torn my right calf making it impossible to run my race.”
The Invictus Games, which was started by Prince Harry in 2014, is a sporting event for ex-military personnel who have been discharged on medical grounds. Jayne Kavanagh, the chef de mission of the UK team, asked Steve to introduce the couple to the runners taking part in the 1,500 metre race and, when she realised he couldn’t run the race himself because of his injury, she asked him to give the royal couple a running commentary on the race.
Steve, who is known to many of his family and friends as Seb, said that Harry remembered him from Canada and that he was able to chat to both him and Meghan, who was happy to hear about his story.
He said: “Harry remembered me from Canada and asked me ‘what is our quick runner doing not racing?’
“I explained to Harry about my injury, and Meghan showed an amazing amount of empathy towards my situation – she was so interested in my story, journey and future aspirations.
“She made me feel so comfortable, I even cracked a couple of jokes which clearly, and thankfully, she found funny.”
The athlete competed in the last year’s Invictus Games in Toronto but was far from being 100 per cent fit as he had to be rushed to hospital after fainting on the first day of training after arriving in Canada.
After a training accident in Pembrokeshire in May 2014 in which he developed foot drop and then had a lumbar puncture operation which went wrong, Steve suffers with various conditions including Sixth Nerve Palsy – a brain and eye condition causing double vision – epilepsy, severe migraines and syncope.
Steve’s loss of consciousness in Toronto was the result of a condition known as syncope which causes his heart to go from its usual resting heartrate of 35-40 beats per minute to 240 beats per minute. This state can last for as long as 15 minutes.
After the syncope attack, Steve was taken to hospital where doctors advised him to take it easy as the affect on his body was like “running a marathon in 25 minutes.”
Determined Steve said: “They advised me to take it easy as it would take a couple of days to recover, however I was there to compete not to take it easy.”
Despite the attack, Steve still competed and even helped his team mate 24-year-old Andy White, from Okehampton in Devon, to win gold for team Great Britain in the Criterium Road Race, which he said made them “friends for life”. Steve finished that race 14th out of 39 cyclists in a time of 28 minutes and 29 seconds. In his other cycling event he placed 10th out of 43 cyclists in the road time trial with a time of seven minutes and 49 seconds. In the athletics he came fifth out of 23 runners in the 1500m with a time of four minutes 47 seconds. He was also part of the Team GB 4x100m relay team which finished fourth.
Steve said: “With a bit of luck I’ll be selected next month and I’ll be able to give you a much better story than last year. I do have to, at the very least, mention that without my coach Jon Farly I would not have made the gains I have made.
“He has been coaching me for six months and I’ve never been stronger fitter or faster.”