Herne Hill Harriers’ Saskia Millard is hoping to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Dame Kelly Holmes and become an Olympic legend.
The 12-year-old from Balham was part of the terrific Harriers trio – alongside Katy Ann McDonald and Alex Brown – which won the Saucony National cross-country relays title last weekend, the first time the club has won the competition in its 123-year history.
Saskia, who goes to Alleyn’s School in Dulwich, is winning races left, right and centre and it is a mentality she hopes to continue.
“I would love to become an Olympic athlete and run in the 2020 Olympics,” she said.
“I want to follow what Kelly Holmes did and win an Olympic medal. I love her, she is so determined. She went to three Olympics and never gave up. She’s an amazing person.”
Saskia, pictured right, who somehow finds the time to do her schoolwork while also playing netball, hockey, water polo and football, as well as going swimming, was not aware she and her team-mates had become the Harriers’ first winners of the cross-country title until they received their medals.
“I was so excited when I finished, knowing we had won, that I didn’t know anything about the record – I did not have time to think,” she said.
“None of us realised what we’d done until after we got our medals.
“You can never be too sure at these kind of events until afterwards.
“It was not until then that we realised we had made such a big achievement.”
She added: “It makes me feel very proud and it is good to be part of a team that has done so well.
“It has given us more confidence for the coming events and has given us more medal hopes for our team.”
Saskia was spotted by the Harriers coaches when, aged nine, she took part in the mini marathon trials for Lambeth and Wandsworth, which she won.
“I love training, it is such a nice group and everyone is so supportive, it’s really enjoyable. I love the atmosphere of the races and my coach, James McDonald, is really nice,” she said.
“It is more like fun than hard work.”
Meanwhile, Herne Hill Harriers U13 boys proved too strong for the competition once again at the Surrey League cross-country meeting at Richmond Park, writes Steve Bosley.
The team was led by another fine run by 10-year-old Oscar Millard, younger brother of Saskia, who was second in the U13 race and an impressive ninth overall in the young athletes race, which also included the U15 and U17 boys.
Oscar was supported by a good run from Kingsley Ezeh, fourth, and Abdul Hakim.
The Millard siblings could be forgiven for indulging in rivalry and taunts, but this is not the case.
Saskia said: “We used to be rivals, but we’re always going to be different and unlikely to race against each other – so now we’re training partners and we run together.”
Herne Hill’s older boys were second in the combined team event for U15s and U17s, with Paul Burgess winning the U15 boys’ race.
The four lads who scored in this team were Paul, who was fourth overall behind three U17s, Nick Clanchy, a U17 who was fifth overall, Tom Singholden, who was 10th in the combined race but third U15 boy, and Callum Barker, who was 12th, but fourth U15.
The Herne Hill men took second place in defence of their Surrey League cross country title.