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Welsh Paralympian swaps athletics for sledge hockey

This weekend one our leading Paralympians, Nathan Stephens, will swap the athletics field for the cooler climates of the sledge hockey arena, as he tries to help Great Britain qualify for next year's Winter Paralympics in Russia.

Stephens and fellow Welshman Stephen Thomas have been training with the GB squad before flying out to the final qualifying tournament in Turin tomorrow.

GB go into it as underdogs, but it is something they believe can work in their favour.

  1. James Crichton-Smith

Nathan Stephens: 'My new wife is my gold medal'

Paralympic athlete Nathan Stephens has told ITV News he would 'rather stand up on that dancefloor a million times over than stand on a podium with a medal', adding: "Now [my wife Charlene] is my gold medal. I've got her for life."

The 25-year-old, who lost both his legs at the age of nine, danced for the first time in his life with Charlene at their wedding reception on Saturday in front of emotional guests.


Video: Paralympian dances for first time at wedding

Warning: Video contains some flash photography.

Paralympic athlete Nathan Stephens danced for the first time in his life with his bride Charlene at their wedding reception on Saturday.

The couple had spent eight months secretly practising the three-minute routine, which reduced family and friends to tears as they watched.

The 25-year-old later admitted: "I was more nervous walking onto the dance floor than when I competed in the London Olympics."

'We'll dance under the stars on our honeymoon'

Nathan Stephens proposed to Charlene, a hospital customer services adviser, at the London Games last year after three years together.

The couple, who now live in Cardiff, married at the Celtic Manor Golf Resort in Newport on Saturday.

After dancing for the first time in his life with Charlene at their reception, Nathan said they now plan to 'dance under the stars' during their Sardinian honeymoon.

Charlene's been my rock, she tells me to stop whinging and get on with things.

I am so lucky she is my wife - dancing with her on our wedding day was one of the best moments of my life.

– Nathan Stephens

We practised our dance for hours and we carried it off on our big day. I am so proud of him.

We had it filmed and I will treasure the video forever.

– Charlene Stephens

First dance 'more nerve-wracking than London Games'

There was reportedly not a dry eye in the house as Paralympic athlete Nathan Stephens danced with new wife Charlene for the first time in his life at their wedding reception.

The 25-year-old said he was more nervous taking to the dancefloor than he was when he competed in the London 2012 Games.

I wanted to dance with Charlene more than anything - but not pushing myself along in my wheelchair.

I was adamant I was going to do it on my legs and if I set my mind to something I always get there.

We practised for eight months in our living room and no one had a clue.

Nathan said the three-minute routine was "all a bit new to me", but eventually felt confident enough to throw in a few twirls.

My older brother Andrew burst into tears. I think everyone was crying.

I have not worn my legs for years and most people at the reception had never seen me standing up out of my wheelchair before. We knew it would be a spectacular start to our night.

I was more nervous walking onto the dance floor than when I competed in the London Olympics. But we had rehearsed, so it went off like a dream.

– Nathan Stephens

Newlywed athlete Nathan Stephens' first ever dance

The couple secretly practised for eight months to enjoy their traditional first dance as newlyweds Credit: Wales News Service

Paralympic athlete Nathan Stephens stunned guests at his wedding reception by dancing for the first time in his life.

The 25-year-old from Bridgend, who lost both his legs under a train when he was nine, uses a wheelchair and has never danced.

But he and his bride Charlene, 26, who were determined to take to the floor as traditional newlyweds, practised in secret for eight months.

During their reception Nathan left the room to put on a pair of prosthetic legs, which had been hidden from guests.

He then pushed through the pain barrier to dance to their favourite song - 'I Won't Give Up' by Jason Mraz - in front of 130 emotional friends and family members.