Micky Yule, a wounded ex-serviceman who is supported by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme, achieved an international personal best of 190kg in his third and final lift at the 2015 IPC Powerlifting Asia Open Championships (Monday 27 July) to finish in fifth place at the latest Rio 2016 qualifying event in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
©Konstantin Kniazevych & Anatoly Kudyakov
Competing in the men’s 72kg category, Micky, who is part of the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery Programme, opened the competition with a lift of 183kg; his heaviest ever opening lift. Having then missed his second lift and first attempt of 190kg, he was awarded a successful lift at the same weight in the third and final round, securing him the competition’s fifth place, an international personal best and eighth place in the IPC world rankings.
In order to qualify for Rio 2016, athletes must meet the IPC Powerlifting Paralympic Minimum Qualification Standard (MQS) for their respective weight category; the top eight ranked male athletes and top six ranked female athletes in each weight category as of 29 February 2016 will be awarded places at next summer’s Paralympic Games.
Micky’s performance in Almaty follows on from his second place finish at the British Para-Powerlifting Championships last month, where he was runner up to current IPC World Champion Ali Jawad.
A former Staff Sergeant, Micky who served with the Royal Engineers, lost both of his legs above the knee when he stepped on an IED in Helmand Province.
He said after the competition: “I’m very pleased to have lifted 190kg in another Rio qualifier, but that I also managed to break into the top eight in another weight group (up to 72kg). I’m now looking ahead to the European Championships in Hungary in November, where I’d really like to bring home a medal.”
Micky was a part of the Army powerlifting team pre-injury, 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 last year.
Help for Heroes are very proud to have supported Micky in his recovery, enabling him to go from strength to strength in his sport, with the Rio Paralympics his ultimate goal in 2016. He praises a recent training camp held at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House in conjunction with British Weight Lifting, for helping him to prepare for the competition: “Thank you to the team at Help for Heroes, the training camp in preparation for the competition today has been a great help in getting me into top shape to succeed. Thanks to JP, Martin and the Sports Recovery team.”
Martin Colclough, Head of Sports Recovery at Help for Heroes added: “A really strong performance from Micky, and a great time to pull it out of the bag on his journey for Rio qualification. We’ve seen a fantastic up rise in participation in Powerlifting as part of our Sports Recovery programme in recent months, and its performances like this that really inspire other wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women to get involved. We look forward to continuing to support Micky on this exciting journey.”
Micky now heads to the 2015 IPC Powerlifting European Open Championships in Eger, Hungary from 24-28 November. The competition will feature around 150 athletes from 25 countries.
Across the South Atlantic Ocean, Joe Townsend, finished fourth at the 2015 Rio de Janeiro ITU World Paratriathlon Event, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the weekend (Saturday 1st August).
In preparation for paratriathlon’s debut next summer at the 2016 Paralympic Games, athletes tested the course off Copacabana Beach.
Former Royal Marine, Joe took to the water for the 750m sea swim which was followed by the bike and run (race wheelchair) along the Copacabana beach, in front of weekend sun seekers and triathlon fans from around the world. Although results at this race don’t form part of the British Paralympic selection policy, the experience will help focus athletes on the Games next September.
After the men’s PT1* race Joe said: “I found out I was only 20 seconds behind Achenza (ITA). I turned into the final straight, saw him in my sights, just paced it up to him nicely, came to the slightly wider section, put the gas on, carried it through to the line and it was a fourth place finish. Yeah, absolutely over the moon.”
*The PT1 classification includes wheelchair users. Athletes use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment
Townsend, 27 was wounded in 2008, after standing on an anti-tank mine which was buried just below ground - he lost both of his legs in the blast. Joe was immediately flown back to Camp Bastion and then onto Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where he spent five weeks in a critical care ward. Since 2008 he has helped inspire the current generation of wounded and show there really is life after injury.
Joe is determined not to let his injury get the better of him and has competed in many endurance races including the Bolton Iron Man, twice, and various other triathlons. In June 2012, Joe took on the world’s toughest cycling race, RAAM, cycling over 3,000 miles across America with seven other wounded servicemen raising money for Help for Heroes.
Joe has been supported by Help for Heroes since he was first injured, enabling him to compete as an international athlete - his goal is to take part in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The support provided to Micky and Joe forms part of the Help for Heroes’ partnership with the British Paralympic Association, British Weight Lifting & British Triathlon to introduce military personnel to Paralympic Sport.
Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery since 2008, and in the past year alone have put on 300 events across 50 different sports enabling over 2,100 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in adaptive sports from grassroots through to performance level.
To find out more about Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme, follow @H4H_SR on Twitter.