1. ITV Report

Invictus Games captain prepares to lead team out in Sydney

Mark Perkins from Cardiff was chosen to be the captain for Team UK

A former soldier from Cardiff has told ITV Wales he had 'goosebumps' the moment he found out he was chosen to lead out Team UK as the captain at this year's Invictus Games.

The Invictus Games is a multi-sport event created by Prince Harry for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and begins on Saturday with the opening ceremony.

Prince Harry founded the Games in 2014 Credit: PA Images

Prince Harry climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge to raise the Invictus Games flag ahead of the competition's opening ceremony.

The Duke of Sussex, along with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and three Invictus athletes took just 13 minutes complete the climb.

The team left for Sydney from Heathrow this week Credit: Help for Heroes

Captain Mark ‘Dot’ Perkins who was injured in 2000 while serving in Kenya said, “For many years I have been struggling with pain and survival guilt, and have previously just put my head in the sand."

"The Invictus Games has not only assisted my pain by making me healthier and stronger but has also returned my previous drive. Being part of the Invictus Games will only continue to drive me in my recovery.”

"The next two weeks will demonstrate the unique power of sport to support recovery. Team UK are ready, raring to go and enjoying the camaraderie which the Armed Forces if famous for"

The other Welsh athletes competing are Ryan Hewitt from Llandudno, Lee Matthews from Caldicot, Michael Matthews from Cardiff, Alexandra McClellan from Ffynnongynydd, Jeff Robinson from Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan and Steve Sebburn from Brecon.

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I turned to drink thinking it was the answer.

It wasn't until I re-trained to be a physiotherapist and I worked for the military I rehabbed a guy that did Orlando in 2016 and I thought I'll watch him do that and as I watched that moment just dawned on me, why am I not doing this?

I applied for last year, got in, didn't do exceptionally well but I got to the start line and that was my goal.

It just made me want to do it again so that's why applied for it again this year.

And I've ticked the captaincy box.

And still now I get goosebumps and I can't believe I will be walking that team out and taking 71 other people to Australia. Everyone there will, whether it's a physical scar or a mental scar, to get to the Invictus Games, to qualify for the Invictus Games, you've got to be a hero and that's the main thing.

– Mark 'Dot' Perkins

Of this year’s UK team, over 60% are new to the Invictus Games. More hopefuls than ever before, 451, trialled for one of the 72 places available on Team UK. The selection process was based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with their performance and commitment to training.

The competitors will be joined in Sydney by hundreds of family and friends who will make the journey to show their support.