South East Wales

Paralympian Nathan Stephens dances at wedding for first time

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWatch Nathan Stephens surprise his wedding guests

Paralympian javelin thrower Nathan Stephens and his bride surprised wedding guests when they had their traditional first dance after marrying.

Many have not seen the Bridgend athlete standing on two legs for a decade as he finds one of his artificial limbs so painful he "gets around" on just one.

However, he and bride Charlene, 26, rehearsed their dance moves in secret before their big day at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport.

"It was incredible," he said.

"We weren't expecting quite a reaction."

The 25-year-old athlete, who lost both legs in a train accident on his ninth birthday, explained how he and his girlfriend of three years had to learn to perfect their moves as his limbs are artificial and, therefore, he would not know if he stood on his dance partner's toes.

"So we were up in our living room, pushing things aside for the last eight months making sure we could dance," said Stephens, who missed out on a Paralympic gold at London 2012.

Image caption Stephens wants to play ice sledge hockey at the Winter Paralympics

"It was one thing that I could give her that no one else could."

"I kind of dance like a robot," he added. "She had to learn to dance with me or else I end up standing on her toes.

"No one knew what was going on. They thought we might get up and sway but we wanted to do more than that.

"Some of my family have not even seen me on two legs for at least 10 years... I get around on one leg.

Image caption Stephens proposed just before the London 2012 games

"After the dance everybody was coming up in tears saying they were proud of us."

The couple, who danced to I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz, are having a honeymoon in Sardinia.

Later this summer the Welshman from Kenfig Hill with a throwing style that sees him lean out of his chair will compete in the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon.

He is also working towards a place in the ice sledge hockey team at next year's Winter Paralympics in Russia.

Stephens represented Team GB at the Turin Paralympics in the sport in 2006 and has competed at two IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships.

He will also be dedicating his time to training for another bid for a javelin medal at the next summer Paralympics in Rio in 2016.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe couple practised in secret for eight months before their first public dance

Stephens, who finished fourth at Beijing 2008, controversially missed out on a Paralympic gold at London Olympics after officials decided his throwing style in the F57 javelin did not comply with rules.

He proposed to Charlene Beard, a hospital customer services adviser, shortly before the London games.

"It's great to come home and not have to talk about sport all the time - and Charlene's never biased," he said.

"She tells me to stop whingeing and get on with things."

More on this story