Meet our 6for2018: Iona Miller (Triathlon)
Last month saw Glasgow 2018 launch an exciting new digital series which will see us focus on six exciting young athletes with aspirations for 2018.
All six of these young ambassadors are passionate about seeing more young people give their sport a go in the year of 2018 – a special year which will see Scotland host the first ever multi-sport European Championships in August. Find out more about Glasgow 2018 HERE
2018 is also Scotland’s Year of Young People where young people (8 to 26) will be given a platform to showcase their ideas and talents and help to create a more positive image of young people in society.
18-year-old triathlete Iona Miller is one of our 6for2018 and took her first steps into the world of sport growing up in Inverclyde, Renfrewshire.
After taking up swimming at a young age, Iona started at her local running club – but she was keen to find a sport that combined the two. Now one of Scotland’s most promising young triathletes, Iona is currently studying at Loughborough University – a short distance from British Triathlon HQ - but still trains in Scotland with Fusion Triathlon Club.
We spoke to Iona about her love for the sport and on why young people should consider giving the sport of triathlon a go in 2018:
- Hi Iona. Explain to us how you first got into Triathlon?
Iona: “I was in a swim club and, being quite sporty, I decided to join my school run club too. After improving there a friend recommended aquathon – a lot of kids do those before they do triathlon. So this then got me into triathlon and that’s when I joined Fusion triathlon club at the age of 9. And since then I’ve continued in the sport!”
- How has the sport grown since you’ve taken up triathlon?
Iona: “When I was growing up, triathlon wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. It’s a lot more popular now than when I started. There were around 8 of us at Fusion triathlon club when I first started, and now the junior section is huge. Since London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 the sport has grown a lot. So back then I wasn’t really aware of triathlon but it’s definitely grown a lot since I’ve been in the sport."
- Who inspires you from the current crop of Scottish triathletes?
Iona: “For me it’s cool to see Marc (Austin) and Grant (Sheldon) doing so well because they were just above me in the Scottish programme so I definitely look up to those two. It’s great to see people you know making it and getting into Commonwealth and European teams, from a Scottish perspective.”
- Will having triathlon as part of Glasgow 2018 help grow the sport even further?
Iona: “I hope it will. It’s right at home near Glasgow so, for my home club Fusion, it’ll help them attract more members. Glasgow tri-club, Stirling tri-club and all the Scottish clubs – I can definitely see them increasing their memberships off the back of Glasgow 2018
“I really like the course at Strathclyde Park. I’ve done relays there and races there and it’s been a great location for the Scottish U20s festival. So I think – the event as a whole – will be fantastic, I can’t wait.”
- Mixed relay will feature for the first time at an Olympics Games in 2020 and will also play a part at Glasgow 2018. What can fans expect from those races?
Iona: “Triathlon can be a pretty individual sport at times but you feel more responsibility to the team during a mixed relay. It’s a lot shorter and faster, you have to be more reactive. If you miss the bike pack that can be it all over. It’s intense!”
- Why should young people who want to get into sport give triathlon a try?
Iona: “Triathlon is such a welcoming sport. I train at Fusion with people of all abilities – my mum even comes to some of the sessions. She started seven years ago and she didn’t have any experience. Everyone comes in and loves it, it doesn’t matter how good you are. There’s such a community feel.”
- How can we attract more young women into the sport and help them achieve their goals?
Iona: “We’ve had a really good female coach in the Scottish squad so I think things like that, and trying to engage female athletes more will help. Having female role models helps too. You get to a certain age and other things in your life can get in the way of your sport, so it’s important you have people to talk to who can help you stick at it.”
“Seeing female British triathletes like Jess Learmonth and Sophie Coldwell, who is in my training group at Loughborough, doing so well also helps!”
Find your nearest Triathlon club – Triathlon Scotland ‘Find a Club’ tool
What is Triathlon? – British Triathlon website
BBC Get inspired – how to get into Triathlon