Australian Invictus competitor quits Games amid drugs charges

An Invictus Games competitor who was once photographed with the Duke of Sussex has quit the Australia team after it was revealed that he faces charges for drugs and weapons offences.

Power lifter Tyrone Gawthorne first met Harry in Vancouver during a training event for the 2017 Games.

According to reports, the pair met again on Sunday when Harry attended an event for this year’s Games for injured service personnel in Sydney – where Gawthorne won silver in a competition on Tuesday night.

It emerged on Wednesday that the 36-year-old had later quit the Games after team bosses discovered he faced charges of possessing steroids and cocaine.

The illegal drugs were allegedly found in his car when when he was pulled over by police in the Mooroobool suburb of Cairns in Queensland on September 17.

He also faces criminal action for having a rifle that was not properly secured.

In a statement to ABC, he insisted he had not taken “any substance that would unfairly enhance my sporting performance at the Games”.

“I cannot express how sorry I am for not disclosing to the team that I had been arrested,” he said.

“I have let down my family and friends and my teammates, and my actions are not in keeping with the spirit of the Games.

“I would like to sincerely apologise to everyone who has been affected by my actions.”

Gawthorne joined the Australian Army in 1999 as a rifleman and was deployed in East Timor and Afghanistan before being medically discharged in 2011.

In a September interview with The Australian newspaper, he told how he had overcome physical injury and post-traumatic stress disorder to open a gym and start a supplement business.

He was pictured with the duke in Vancouver in October 2017, when Harry visited a pool where Gawthorne was practising.

According to The Australian, the pair spoke again on Sunday at an Invictus Games event.

A profile on the Australian Government’s Department of Defence Invictus Games team page was taken down on Wednesday.

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