SMILE Through Sport founder Stephen Miller won a bronze medal in the F32 Club Throw at last week’s World Para Athletics Championships held in the London Stadium. He and coach Ros Miller will be at Gateshead Stadium on Wednesday 26th July 10am-2pm for a SMILE Through Sport Athletics Festival which is part of the SMILE Summer Programme. Entry is £4 per person and the event is suitable for all disabilities and ages, come along for a great day taking part in athletics and meeting Stephen and seeing his medals.
It was an emotional return for Miller in London, it was the first time he had been back in the London stadium since finishing a disappointing 11th at the 2012 Paralympic Games, where he was also the male athletics team captain.
With a best throw of 29.32m Miller took the Bronze by 74cm from Al Mashaykhi of Oman in a tight competition. Algeria’s Lahouari Bahlaz took Gold with 34.31m and the Paralympic champion from Rio Maciej Sochal of Poland claimed Silver with 33.22m.
There was a healthy crowd in the stadium and with around 50 members of ‘Team Miller’ watching on, there was plenty of support for the Cramlington athlete who was competing in his 7th World Athletics Championships, this was his first World Championship medal since Christchurch 2011 having missed out in Lyon 2013 and Doha 2015. Adding another World Championship medal to his collection which now stands at 3 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze.
At 37 years old the Gateshead Harrier is as competitive as ever at world level and has his sights set on the European Athletics Championships in Berlin next August.
Stephen said, “I’m very proud of this performance, to come back to London and put right what went wrong in 2012, this was for Team Miller, I’m glad I could give them something to shout about this time. We’ve worked hard on my mental approach and mindset going into this competition. Obviously I’ve got some bad memories from 2012 and I even threw from the same cage here, but none of that entered my head and I performed as well as I felt I could on the day.
I enjoyed every moment out there, maybe apart from watching the athlete in 4th place! The atmosphere was incredible and I know how lucky I am to be able to compete in an environment like that.
I have to thank all my support team, my coach, physio, chiropractor, sponsors and The National Lottery, who all ensure I can be the best I can be.
Looking forward I’m going to have a long break as it’s been a very intense few years and my body needs to recover, but I’m definitely aiming to challenge for Gold at the next championships.
The SMILE Athletics Festival on 26th July promises to be a fun event for anyone wanting to try disability athletics, I’m very much looking forward to it.”