Richard Kilty’s dad spoke to AW about the remarkable background behind his son’s sprint victory in Sopot

“If someone had said to me before the final I could take £10 million or gold, I swear I would have taken gold,” Kevin Kilty, father of newly-crowned IAAF world indoor 60m champion Richard, told AW.

That’s quite a statement, especially when you consider the background to his son’s ‘rags to riches’ story.

Rocky posterWhen Kilty Jnr was a child he had a Rocky poster on his wall. It featured an inspirational image of the actor Sylvester Stallone along with the quote: “His whole life was a million to one shot.”

At the bottom his father had added a hand-written note suggesting his son’s life could mirror the unlikely rise of Rocky Balboa from underdog journeyman to champion of the world.

“It’s like a Rocky story but unlike Rocky this is a true story – and a better story in some ways”

So imagine Kevin Kilty’s shock and delight when Richard won the world indoor title in Poland earlier this month. “It’s like a Rocky story,” Kevin said, “but unlike Rocky this is a true story – and a better story in some ways.”

From spending time living in a homeless hostel with his family as a child to more recently suffering a lack of sponsorship and lottery funding – the sprinter has not had the easiest time of it. Also, only third in the UK Championships, Richard probably would not have made the GB team for Sopot if James Dasaolu had been fit. Then, going into the World Indoor Championships, he was only a 66/1 shot.

But he won. Richard’s dedication paid off as he clocked 6.49 for world 60m gold. And now he looks forward to proving what else he is capable of. Roll on summer 2014.

» This is an extract from a two-page interview with Richard Kilty’s father, Kevin, published in the March 20 issue of AW. You can read more on Richard’s rise to world indoor champion in that issue, which is available here, or digitally here.