Kayak star from DMU takes European bronze medal

A kayaker from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is aiming for Olympic glory after becoming a European bronze medallist in his sport.

Student Ricky Millar podiumed in the Wild Water Junior Europeans K1 Junior Team Sprint in Marau, Austria, the same kayak class as TeamGB’s Joe Clarke, who won Britain’s first ever gold medal at this summer’s men’s slalom event in Rio.

Ricky Millar 1

Ricky, who also holds a 100% record of British University and College Sports (BUCS) podium finishes with DMU’s Canoe Club, now hopes his success, together with Team GB’s Olympic endeavours, will inspire the future of DMU sporting talent.

The 22 year-old, who is about to commence his final year in MSc Mechatronics at DMU, said: “Try everything, and get stuck in.

“It sounds cliché, but now is the time to make friends, get involved and have some fun.”

Ricky Millar 2

In addition to Ricky’s bronze medal, won with team mates Mike Rees-Clarke and Rob Jefferies, he also scored a 10th place finish in the Individual Classic and Individual Sprint as well as 4th in the Team Classic.

The Team Sprint involves three boats racing down the white water together, working as a team to break waves for each other and ultimately reaching the bottom of the course in the fastest time over two runs.

Speaking about the race Ricky said: “We knew from the start we were in with a chance of winning a medal by looking at our places in the individual races, but some of our practice runs didn’t go to well.

“It’s hard to let that affect you going into the competition, but we had a solid time from the first run and there was no reason to be cautious.

“Unfortunately in our second run two boats collided and crashed out not far from the finish line which cost us time, but we held on and clinched 3rd place and the bronze.”

As well as competing and studying, Ricky works as an instructor for a variety of watersports at Holme Pierrepont National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham, his hometown, where he also trains.

He said: “I started at around the age of 10 at a local club and quickly developed before racing competitively.

“I was lucky to be surrounded by very experienced kayaks that have helped me progress and got me to the point where I was winning selection races and getting selected for World Cups and World Championship trials.

“With this you get to travel around some pretty amazing places, make lots of international contacts and have an awesome time.”

In addition to his most recent achievement, Ricky has also claimed three BUCS golds and a bronze medal. With the new BUCS season approaching, Ricky said: “I’ll try and enter more events this year and maybe get in talks with friends from other universities on organising joint trips and get DMU students on some good white water, on a budget.”

Last year Ricky was lucky enough to secure funding from DSU to help fund his training, fuel costs to competitions in the UK and travel to meets across Europe including; Bosnia, Slovenia and Austria, to name just a few.

Ricky has options for the future as he prepares for the Under-23 World Championships. However, he maintains the view that his future will defiantly be based more around enjoying life than earning all the money in the world.

It was announced this summer that DMU is to invest nearly £1million on coaching and support for sports teams following DMU’s best-ever year in BUCS.

The plans will see sports provision at the university fall under one sports department called DMUSport. 

Posted on Thursday 29th September 2016

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