Mills sets Olympics goal after Euro glory

George Mills.
George Mills.
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Teenage Harrogate athlete George Mills has won gold at the European Youth Athletics Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Mills, who is the son of the former Leeds United defender Danny, recorded a new personal best of one minute 48.42 seconds in the 800m and was never headed at the front of a strong field as he won by almost a second.

Italian athletes took the other places on the podium with Andrea Romani second in 1.49.58 and Simon Barontini third in 1.49.78.

Mills said: “I was absolutely delighted with the result.

“The aim was to go and win gold from the off but the personal best was an added extra. I saw on the close a couple of times what pace I was going at but I didn’t have a clue where the Italians were.

“I was just focused on getting to the line.”

Mills’ coach Jo Day said: “It was a fantastic run.

“We have worked very hard to pull this off and it all went to plan.

“He’s had a great season and is just getting stronger and faster year on year.”

The gold medal was the 17-year-old’s first on the international stage but he has visions of earning more success on the world stage in the future.

He represented England at the Commonwealth Youth Games last year and finished fifth.

Mills, added: “I would like to make it to the top and win an Olympic gold medal. That’s the aim but it’s going to be very tough to get there.”

The gold-medal run was the first time Mills had broken one minute 49 seconds, and shaved more than half a second off his previous personal best set in May.

It also put him seventh on the all time list of British Under-17 800m runners.

However, the St Aidan’s School pupil will step up into the Under-20 category from next year where he will target a place at the European Junior Championships.

Despite 19 international caps for England, proud dad Danny Mills admitted watching his son in Georgia had been a “nerve-wracking” experience.

“It’s completely different watching, you have no control of what’s happening and you just want them to do well for themselves,” said the ex-England defender.

“He works unbelievably hard and he has proven to himself what he wanted to do.

“His coaches are fantastic. Jo Day has been magnificent with him and without her he wouldn’t be in the form or shape he is today.

“People will always say it’s easy because he has got sporting genes but it’s nonsense. He is working six days a week and making big sacrifices at such a young age.

“This success just goes to show what can be done with great dedication.”