AW speaks with the World Youth Championships and Commonwealth Youth Games 100m medallist about his progression
If winter training gets tough, Rechmial Miller will have the motivation of building on his world and Commonwealth youth medals next year as the sprinter looks to continue his ever-improving form.
The 17-year-old admits that his 100m silver and bronze medals in Samoa and Cali respectively this summer were slightly unexpected, especially as they came not long after a change in coaching set-up, but his performances have provided a welcome confidence boost and confirmation that the changes have been worthwhile.
Having started out being coached by his father, Paul, Rechmial now works with Ryan Freckleton at Oaklands College and although he proved his potential last year, 2015 has seen the teenager make big strides as he took almost half a second off his 100m PB and made the podium on his GB debut.
“I think I made quite a bit of progress, going to my first international competitions and getting a medal at both as well as getting quite a few PBs,” Rechmial says modestly. “Also it has happened in the first year of being with my new coach and a new training group. I think it has settled really well and I’ve learnt loads.”
Although Rechmial had been progressing well under the guidance of his father, Paul explained how his son had reached a level where he had grown out of the Hercules Wimbledon group, which also includes Rechmial’s younger brother, Chad.
“Ryan is a really good extension of what we were looking to do,” says Paul, who used to be a sprinter at just below international level himself before injuries forced him to hang up his spikes. “It was about putting Rechmial in the right group where he could be challenged but still grow quite slowly. Even though his progress seems fast we’re not looking to do anything overnight.
“This year it was the natural next step but in all honesty it’s been a pleasant surprise that he has done as well as he has.”
With his 10.39 100m PB, Rechmial is now faster than his father ever was, and, still just 17, he is Hercules Wimbledon’s quickest ever sprinter.
“This year it was the natural next step but in all honesty it’s been a pleasant surprise that he has done as well as he has” – Rechmial’s father and former coach, Paul, on the young sprinter’s progression
Rechmial had worked hard to peak at the right time for the Commonwealth Youth Games and it paid off as he used the experience gained from the World Youths to run his PB in this final, finishing second to South Africa’s Tlotliso Leotlela who clocked 10.20, a time that missed the world youth best by just 0.01, and add to Team England’s athletics haul of 10 medals.
In Cali, the final had seen Rechmial’s slowest time of the competition but his 10.59 for bronze after being ranked ninth going into the event came after a 10.49 PB in the heats, a time he had improved to 10.45 in his semi-final.
“After what happened at the World Youths, I was happy with the medal but I was a bit disappointed because I think if I had gone through the rounds better I could have perhaps got the silver,” explains Rechmial, who had a PB of 10.8 prior to 2015.
“So when I got back I went through stuff with my coach and we took a different approach.”
While his experiences in Cali and Samoa have taught Rechmial a great deal about international competition, the sprinter believes he has benefitted hugely from being around other top athletes in his new training group.
Rechmial boards at Oaklands College, where he is studying for a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport Development, Coaching and Fitness, and praises the influence of his coach as well other athletes such as Ojie Edoburun and Reuben Arthur.
Ojie and Reuben were two of only three sprinters placed higher than Rechmial in the UK under-20 100m rankings for 2015, with all three of those athletes having birth years of 1996 compared to Rechmial’s 1998.
“I was training with my dad last year and I improved a lot. We decided that it would probably be better for me to move to a group with athletes at a higher level so I could try to chase them,” says Rechmial, who now does three track sessions a week as well as two gym sessions and a recovery session.
“Last year I hadn’t been to an international so being around people like Reuben or Ojie and seeing how they conduct themselves, that has taught me a lot.”
“When we were younger we used to watch all the competitions including the World Champs and Olympics. We had everything on videos, so I’ve always watched loads of athletics” – Rechmial
Having focussed on the 100m in 2015, Rechmial intends to add in some 200m races next summer after a few shorter sprints during the indoor season.
His main aim for 2016 is the World Junior Championships and having grown up with the sport, Rechmial is looking forward to being a part of the future of it.
“When we were younger we used to watch all the competitions including the World Champs and Olympics. We had everything on videos, so I’ve always watched loads of athletics,” he says.
As Paul explains, it is important that Rechmial’s progress isn’t rushed and with the passion of his father and the guidance of his coach, he seems in safe hands.
“This is the hard thing in athletics because everyone wants success so fast,” says Paul. “It’s having a level head to look at the longer game but at the same time, if things come earlier, then so be it.”
You can find further performance stats on Rechmial on Power of 10 here.
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