Injured war hero aims for weightlifting gold

Former Staff Sergean turned gold-medal weightlifter Micky Yule
Former Staff Sergean turned gold-medal weightlifter Micky Yule
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A wounded ex-soldier who lost both his legs in Afghanistan is on track for Rio after winning gold in an international weightlifting contest.

Micky Yule, who was injured in Helmand province when he stood on an IED, has triumphed in the IPC Powerlifting Americas Open Championships in Mexico.

The 36-year-old former staff sergeant from Musselburgh lifted 177kg on Monday to clinch his first major international medal in the men’s up to 65kg, having missed the podium at the 2013 European Championships and at Dubai 2014.

He finished 26kg ahead of Brazilian competitor Alexsander Whitaker and nearly 40kg ahead of Danilo Rodriguez of Cuba.

Micky said: “It meant everything. To finally start putting finishing fourth at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games behind me and start winning again felt great. I’ll be straight back into the gym and training hard.

“I am motivated by breaking down the barriers around disability sport. I have tremendous support from my family, friends and sponsors.

“I feel that I’m at a great place to achieve my best.”

The competition, which featured more than 120 athletes from 25 countries, is a key milestone for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games qualification.

Micky has the British Championships in June, a Rio qualifier in Kazakhstan in July and the European Championships in Hungary in November.

The father-of-one was two months into a tour of Afghanistan with the Royal Engineers in July 2010 when he was injured.

A keen powerlifter before the explosion, surgeons said his size and strength had saved his life. Following two weeks in intensive care and eight in hospital, he went to the army rehab centre at Headley Court, Surrey. There he faced up to a gruelling period of rehabilitation as he battled to come to terms with his devastating injuries.

Learning to walk again on prosthetic legs, he seized the chance to return to the sport he loved.

Using it as a part of his recovery, he came fourth in the Commonwealth Games and won gold at the Invictus Games.

Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme has funded his training equipment.

Martin Colclough, head of Sports Recovery at Help for Heroes, said everyone was “hugely proud” to work with Micky.

He added: “He is full of determination and in just five short years since his injury, Micky has made remarkable progress.

“It’s fantastic for Micky to win his first major international medal, and we will continue to follow and support him on his journey.”

Micky is married to Jody and they have a son, 
Charlie.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com