SCOTTISH war hero Micky Yule, who lost both his legs fighting in Afghanistan, is in training as a weightlifter for Rio Paralympics, while raising awareness for Scottish disabled athletes.
The former Royal Engineer, from Musselburgh, East Lothian, was left a double amputee in 2010 after being seriously injured by a bomb in Helmand Province, eight weeks into his tour of duty.
Wind forward five years and the 36-year-old has managed to turn his life around, as well as training for the Paralympics, he has taken on the important role of Ambassador for ABF The Soldiers’ charity - an organisation providing support to serving and retired soldiers and their families.
Before travelling to Brazil, Yule will be in Blairgowrie next June next for the annual Cateran Yomp - a gruelling endurance event for that sees competitors trek 22, 36.5 or 54-miles round Perthshire’s Cateran Trail.
Yule credits the funding provided to him by The Soldiers’ Charity with getting his weightlifting up to an international standard.
He said: “I found it hard to train at the local gym as they didn’t have adaptive equipment suitable for a double amputee. I need competition kit so I applied to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and they got me grants.
Lots of people do fundraisers and shake buckets on streets but a charity that has a challenging event makes people more keen to do it.Micky Yule, Team GB Paralympian Powerlifter
“The adapted weights bench meant I could train from home. Soldiers helped me to bulk up and I still have the kit as I train at home two days a week.
“I’m really involved in the buildup with the Cateran Yomp as I want to help crank it up next year. I want to help publicise it and get record numbers attending.
“It’s a great charity with nothing easy there - lots of people do fundraisers and shake buckets on streets but a charity that has a challenging event makes people more keen to do it. I’ll be there on the stands helping people and if I need to walk with them, I will.”
After his medical discharge from the Army, Yule married his partner Jody and was selected by Team Scotland to compete in Para-Powerlifting during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
He later captained the British Armed Forces team during the Invictus Games, taking the gold medal back to Scotland for their efforts.
Yule said: “I’m training for the European Championships on 21 November and really cranking up the weights now. I’m looking to benchpress 195kg and hopefully win or come back with a silver medal.
I train twice a day four or five times a week, working closely with my nutritionists so I eat clean food. I’ve got to be a certain weight, like in boxing, and I need to be 68kg.
“I’d always been strong growing up and I’d had a go at powerlifting in the army and really enjoyed it. I went to a paralympic potential day and tried it, finding that I was still quite strong. I’ve never looked at any other sport since.”
Offering advice to other injured soldiers, Yule said: “I used to set myself little goals as there was no way I could go from lying in my hospital bed to training from the Paralympics otherwise.
“Keep up with little goals and make sure you have strong family and friends around you - as long as you’re not surounded by negativity you’ll be able to achieve them.”
Major General Martin Rutledge, chief executive of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity said: “We are delighted to confirm Micky as The Cateran Yomp Ambassador for 2016. As a former soldier, who sustained his injuries on active service,
“Micky is an athlete who has both benefited from our support and also understands our objectives as a charity that helps soldiers, veterans and their families.
“Micky Yule is an inspiration to all and we are delighted to support him on his quest for gold in Rio.”