Paralympian Micky Yule powered his way to Britain’s first Invictus Games gold medal and had Prince Harry shouting out his name in support.
Yule, from Musselburgh, dominated the men’s lightweight power-lifting competition, but the crowd played their part creating an electric atmosphere with even Harry crying out “Come on Micky” from his seat in the stands.
The Invictus Games was launched with a glittering opening ceremony featuring singer James Blunt, Hollywood star Morgan Freeman, and attended by First Lady Michelle Obama, former US president George W Bush and thousands of spectators.
Hundreds of injured servicemen and women and veterans from across the globe will compete over the coming days in a sporting spectacle created by the prince.
Harry visited the Invictus site in Orlando, Florida, to watch the power-lifting and saw Yule, 37, record a personal best with a winning lift of 190 kilograms. The sportsman was left red-faced by his exertions and pulled a strongman pose as the crowd cheered.
With his huge build, and torso and arms covered with tattoos, Yule is an imposing figure and one of the leading individuals in the UK Invictus team.
He said: “Do you know what, he’s [Prince Harry] such a supporter and I think without his input into the whole games, I’m sure it wouldn’t be what it is.
“He puts himself out, he’s around everybody. You see him in the back helping everybody – the same as President Bush, he’s been round to see me.
“Prince Harry, he’s a top lad and he knows where we’re coming from. That’s the thing, there’s no sympathy – we don’t want that – it’s just we’re the lads, he’s a lad, we’re getting on with it, and he’s a prince second to us.”
A former staff sergeant, the sportsman served with the Royal Engineers and lost both of his legs above the knee when he stepped on an IED in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2010.
He was a part of the Army power-lifting team before he was injured and has used the sport as a huge part of his rehabilitation and recovery, culminating in a fourth place at the Commonwealth Games and gold at the Invictus Games in 2014.
When Harry presented the medal to Yule the two men clasped hands and hugged each other.
The former servicemen said about receiving his gold from the Prince: “If I could have picked anybody, it would have been him.
“He’s such a supporter of all injured servicemen world wide now and I’m sure everybody looks upon that. He puts a lot of pressure on people – high people – to make sure the boys are looked after, I’m sure we’d be in a worse place without him.”