MICKY YULE is hoping that three will be the magic number for him next month as the Paralympic powerlifter prepares to launch his latest (and final) attempt to win gold for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The Wallyford man’s previous attempts - at Gold Coast in 2018 and Glasgow in 2014 – ended in injury-induced fourth-place finishes but Yule excels in the face of adversity.

His life was turned upside down 12 years ago this month when, as a staff sergeant in the Royal Engineers on his second tour of Afghanistan, he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) planted by the Taliban in Helmand Province.

The resulting explosion saw him lose his legs. Both his arms were broken, his spine crushed and he spent ten days in a coma, two months in hospital and a further two-and-a-half years in rehabilitation. He would undergo more operations (75) than some surgeons perform in their career.

Remarkably, until that point: weight-lifting had been little more than a hobby but it would soon provide him with a welcome distraction.

“It was only after powerlifting was introduced at the London Olympics [in 2012] that I thought there might be a way forward for me,” he said.

“I’d always been strong so I began finding out how I could become involved and what guidance I could receive and, after it was included in Glasgow in 2014 I was lucky enough to be paired with my coach, Neil Crosby, who still works with me now.

“But I never considered competing when I was in the Army: I only ever did it then to keep fit. I’d no aspirations to do anything else.

“Now, when I train or compete, it takes my mind off everything else. It was my little bit of freedom and, when I was concentrating on lifting, I wasn’t thinking about Afghanistan or my injuries or anything else. It also helped because it made me push myself.

“More than anything, I had targets and deadlines and a routine once again and I needed that routine. It also helped me get off painkillers because when you’re medicating through your injuries you can’t train. Now I’m back to trying to be the guy I was before.”

He admits, though, that Birmingham would not be his venue of choice for the competition.

“It takes a lot to get me to go back there,” he said. “When I was injured the hospital I was flown back to was in the city so I’ve always associated Birmingham with quite bad memories. I could do with changing that around.

“I’ve only ever gone there before to have work done so at least on this occasion I know I can visit without someone wanting to cut me open.

“Back in April I took part in a mini-tournament at Loughborough University and I matched my personal best – which I’d set five years earlier – by lifting 195lbs.That gave me plenty of encouragement and, if I can repeat that or even better it in Birmingham, I should be among the medals.”