Commonwealth Games: Micky Yule wins bronze in city that saved him

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Media caption,

Yule wins emotional Para-powerlifting bronze

Twelve years ago Micky Yule woke up from a coma in Birmingham, having stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan.

He lost both legs.

This week the former Royal Engineer returned to the city that saved him to win a Commonwealth Games bronze medal.

He lifted 192kg to finish third in the heavyweight benchpress final, claiming the medal which evaded him in two previous Games.

"I looked at myself and said: 'Listen, your daughter's here tonight, you're not leaving here without a medal'," Yule told BBC Scotland.

"I was looking her straight in the eye and was bringing that emotion. It needed to mean more than ever."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Micky Yule focused on his daughter, Tilly, during the final

And he revealed watching fellow Scot Eilish McColgan win the gold medal in the 10,000m the night before had helped inspire him.

"I must have watched that 20 times," Yule added. "In my head, she kicked three times, and that was my three lifts. She fought back when everybody thought she would quit and she didn't.

"I said: 'That's your three lifts Micky. Get a bit of that McColgan power in you. Where's that grit? Make sure you bring it.'

"I saw her run to her mum and I thought: 'That's it - her running to her mum is your daughter running to you. Don't dare quit on yourself.'"

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Micky Yule and Kirsty Gilmour carried the flag for Scotland during the opening ceremony

Now 43, the Edinburgh-born athlete has undergone more than 40 operations since losing his legs and is grateful to the staff at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital who helped save his life in 2010.

Six years after suffering those life-changing injuries, he was chosen to compete as a Paralympic powerlifter at Rio 2016.

Since then, Yule has become a bronze medallist at the Tokyo Paralympic Games as well as achieving respective gold and silver in the 2020 and 2021 World Cups, which were both held in Manchester.

Before the Games he said: "It's a strange feeling. I flew in here in a coma from Afghanistan and then spent eight weeks getting patched up and surgeries, sometimes being quite close to everything going wrong.

"But I'm back here. The people at Queen Elizabeth Hospital saved my life.

"It's not all bad, it's mixed feelings, but to be back here on a real positive note to try and win a medal for your country and be the flagbearer, I think it comes full circle to where things started 10 years ago."

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Commonwealth Games: Watch JJ Chalmers' emotional reaction to friend Yule's bronze

Meanwhile BBC Sport presenter JJ Chalmers paid an emotional tribute to Yule, his friend, after he won the bronze medal.

Like Yule, he was injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2011 while serving as a Royal Marine.

He said: "I'm so proud of him. From coming from the military, medals don't make you a hero I can tell you that, but it's the way you conduct yourself, it's the person that you are, and Micky is that, and he's an absolute hero to me."

Chalmers went on to pay tribute to Birmingham.

"Because whenever people say the name of this city, I thought of the hospital and it was amazing and I'm grateful to it," he said.

"But now when people say Birmingham I think of these games and this city gave me a life - that's the thing. And now I have something to live for."