A FORMER Whanganui soldier has won a bronze medal at the 2016 Invictus Games in the United States.
Gareth Pratt, a New Zealand Army sergeant, was part of the New Zealand Defence Force team competing at the games in Orlando, Florida.
The Invictus Games are a multi-sport event in which injured armed services personnel take part in sports such as wheelchair basketball and indoor rowing.
The games were founded by Prince Harry and were held for the first time in 2014 in London.
Mr Pratt won his medal in the men's 50m breaststroke swimming event.
He was born in Whanganui but now lives in Christchurch. He has been in the Army 14 years, and has served throughout the world.
Mr Pratt credited his training environment for helping him to third place amid strong competition.
"I'm stoked with myself for getting a medal, but it's the continuity of training that I was aiming for, and that's what paid off in the end. Joining something and sticking to a routine has made my life a bit more normal," Mr Pratt said.
This year's Invictus Games saw some world-class competition - something of which Mr Pratt was all too aware.
"These competitors are top-of-the-class, A-grade athletes," he said.
"They know the mind games, they're competitive, so it was great to get into the pool and thrash some of them."
Mr Pratt said he was grateful for the support of sponsors and the New Zealand Defence Force.
"Knowing the NZDF is behind us all the way, topped off with having our friends and families here, is great!
"Usually, when we go overseas our families are left to do the long, hard slog at home, whereas here they get to enjoy some of the victory as well," Mr Pratt said.
New Zealand won seven medals at the games, which finished on May 12.