MICKY YULE knows all too well the devastation of fourth place. 

Time and time again, it is reiterated that fourth place is by far the worst place to finish in a major championship and not once but twice, Scotland’s top powerlifter has finished just one place outside of the medals at the Commonwealth Games. 

His fourth place on his Commonwealth Games debut, on home soil at Glasgow 2014, was followed up by yet another fourth place in Gold Coast in 2018 but this time, in Birmingham, he has vowed he will not leave empty-handed for a third time.  

“I’m ready for these Games,” the 43-year-old from Edinburgh says. 

“And I’m in no doubt it’s time for me to win a Commonwealth medal.” 

Yule’s disappointment around his previous two Commonwealth Games appearances have been largely centred around the fact he turned up at both Glasgow and Gold Coast not fully fit. 

In a sport such as powerlifting, where’s there’s no hiding places once you’re out on that platform, Yule can’t shake the feeling that he should already have his hands on some Commonwealth silverware – but as happens all too often in elite sport, that little bit of luck that’s essential for success was lacking. 

“It was hard coming fourth – I believe I should be sitting here with two silver medals. But I went into both of those Commonwealth Games injured and trying to pull something out so I just feel like I wasn’t able to give it my best shot,” the Edinburgh lifter says. 

“When you’re going into a major event like the Commonwealth Games injured, everything gets on top of you. You’re hoping other people underperform or you get a bit of luck and that’s not the way you want to be thinking. 

“The hardest part is feeling like it’s getting taken away from you. At both Glasgow and Gold Coast, I was looking at the numbers that were winning medals and I’m thinking, I was lifting that eight weeks ago..  

“Listen, you’ve got to perform on the day and that’s all part of it. But I feel like I’ve left two Commonwealth medals out there.” 

Yule is a former soldier in the British Army who, after being posted to Afghanistan, stood on an IED in 2010, losing both his legs. 

Yule used powerlifting as part of his rehabilitation and has now been competing internationally for a decade, with his highlight a bronze medal at the Paralympics in Tokyo last summer, which was his most notable success since winning European gold in 2015 and the Invictus Games in 2016. 

However, ahead of these Commonwealth Games he is, he believes in something close to the shape of his life and so as a result, is in confident mood as he prepares to begin his campaign in Birmingham in the +72kg category today. 

“My form is good,” he says.  

“Recently, there was a small competition in Loughborough where I bench pressed 195kgs, which is a PB so I’m in that kind of shape. It’s been five years since I lifted that kind of weight so that’s encouraging. 

“I want a medal in Birmingham but my priority is to make sure I lift more than I’ve ever lifted in my life. 

“If I lift better than I’ve ever lifted, that’s the thing that’ll be the most satisfying for me.  

“It’s a nice feeling to be still improving – what’s been hard for me in the past is the injuries, I’ve been injured too many times throughout my career but for the last year, my body has just decided to behave. I don’t know what’s changed and why it’s all going smoothly but long may it continue.” 

Yule’s Paralympic medal last summer was something of an upset, with the Scot not widely expected to grab a place on the podium. 

However, as we all know, elite sport all too often refused to follow the script and Yule took advantage of the situation to get onto the podium. 

In many ways, though, the Commonwealth Games is a more intense, higher pressure environment than the Paralympic Games, with the powerlifting crowds at the Commonwealth Games easily outdoing those at recent Paralympics. 

For some, that pressure is a hindrance but for others, like Yule, it is these intense environments in which he thrives. 

“I feel more pressure now I’ve got that Paralympic medal because there’s more expectation on me,” he says.  

“In Tokyo, I was expecting some of the weights being lifted to be well beyond me but I managed to pull something out the bag and that was enough to get on the podium.  

“But at the Commonwealth Games, I should be medalling, that’s the truth of it.  

“For us, the biggest event we’ve got in terms of fans is the Commie Games - there’s thousands of people watching and it’s brilliant.  

“I know this isn’t quite a home Games but it’s as close as you can get and I love having that atmosphere, it makes everything that bit more intense and it’s where you want to be when you’re lifting.  

“And if I’m going to finally medal, better to do it in front of a full house.”