Shropshire Star

Shropshire golden boy Rio Mitcham wants to help next generation

A gold medal-winning sprinter is aiming to uplift the athletics scene across his home county.


Rio Mitcham, who won a gold medal for Great Britain at European Championships in Munich in the 4x400m relay, hopes to help and inspire more young to win and represent Telford and Shropshire in athletics.

Mitcham, who was part of the team containing Matthew Hudson-Smith, ran in the heats but later dropped out of the team for the final.

And the youngster wants to use his success and experience to help more people in the area aspire to be on the international stage.

He said: "When I was growing up no one was really pushing the boundaries in athletics.

"I don't really see the pathways towards making it as an athlete because it didn't feel like it was available to us at the small Telford track we have there.

"I would like to start helping athletes at the level of breaking through and almost guiding them and helping them to be more professional.

"When I was younger I just did the Shropshire circuit which was so much fun.

"But I want to show them that there is so much more, and the opportunities that we have are endless, and they don't end here.

"If you don't have the set-up organised for you then you need to create it yourself.

"That is something that I want to help the athletes that are younger than me."

When Mitcham first started running he did the 100m and 200m, but after conversations with his coach, he decided to step up to 400m.

And after an initial adjusting period - success soon started to come - leading to his qualification for the GB relay team.

He said: "I had some success at the British Championships coming third, and I was really happy with that, and it put me in a good state for selection for the European Championships.

"And when I did get selected it was a big weight off my shoulders that I could go out there and show what I could do.

"They take eight people in the team, and there are four people in the relay, but there is obviously the heats and the final.

"Fortunately, I got selected to run the heats, and I ran a really good split for me it was half a second quicker than I had done before.

"And it put us in a good state for the final.

"As soon as I saw the boys go across the line for the final I was over the moon. It changed my whole outlook on myself, and how hard I have been working and how I viewed the sport.

"Being around people I have watched growing up on TV, and now I am rubbing shoulders with them."

The 22-year-old is hoping to see more from more athletes representing the area and has challenged himself to get more success.

He continued: "The Telford vest is yellow, and I would love to see it at more British Championships and bigger events.

"There needs to be more knowledge that there are opportunities in the sport. There is talent in the area, it is just tapping into it.

"I am so proud of my achievements but I wasn't sure how long to stay happy.

"But now I want to ride the high for as long as I can and then go into a deep, deep winter training to put even more work in.

"And then hopefully next year I am in a good position to compete at the World Championships and hopefully, we can bring home another medal.

"It would be nice to be in the individual event, so I am going to be working all winter to get to that point."