Shropshire Star

Telford sprinter Rio Mitcham has all eyes on Paris

Telford sprinter Rio Mitcham has his heart and mind focused on a trip to Paris next year.


The 24-year-old is hoping to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games in France next year in both individual and team events.

It follows an incredibly successful year for the young athlete after winning multiple medals at the World Championships in Budapest this summer.

His heart is now set on Paris but he knows he will have to work hard to get there.

"I want to keep it really simple, I want to get into the Olympic team," Mitcham said on his aspirations.

"It would be good to put my name into the hat for the individual event if I can show them what I can do - as well as the relay.

"I need to hit the standard, but I just want to demonstrate the potential that I know I have in me.

"If I do that, then I know the rest will come.

"I just see these things as a great experience, I am really fortunate to have this great opportunity to run around a track and have people cheer at the same time - it is a crazy feeling.

"I just want to be really conscious of the fact it is an incredible experience and I should enjoy these things while I am doing them.

"If I can go to the Olympics that will be an incredible, life-changing, experience so that is what my focus is."

He began his training for this summer in Cape Town in the middle of the winter, before opening his season with three personal best times.

But it has not always been a linear path for him as he missed the European Team Championships with Great Britain because of a positive Covid test the day before departing for Poland.

He continued: "It wiped me out and I found it really hard to train.

"Around three weeks later, I went to the British Championships which is really important.

"This is what they use for selection for the World Championship team.

"I had done one session before, but me and my coach were just like I need to go, I went and false started so I got disqualified.

"It was a rough month," he joked.

"Fortunately, I still got selected for the Worlds team based on some of my earlier performances.

"From then on I kept training and training as I was determined to get back to full fitness."

The youngster, who still works as a receptionist in a gym in order to fund his running, trains under the guidance of former GB sprinter Leon Baptiste in Loughborough.

And after working hard in the run-up to the World Championships in Budapest he came home with two medals.

He said: "I was in the mixed relay and the men's 4x400m relay. We got silver in the mixed relay as well as getting a national record.

"We got bronze in the men's event, I ran in the heats and in the final for both.

"Last year in Munich I only got the chance to run in the heats - it was such a good moment and I was so happy watching the boys do it.

"It was incredible, but actually being in it is completely different.

"I really just wanted to enjoy it, I made sure I was very conscious about where I was and I wanted to take in every moment.

"I ran a couple of PB's over the course of the championships and it ended up being the third fastest split in the whole competition."