Millie Cavanagh has dedicated her English Schools’ Track & Field Championship victory to the memory of her father.
The Fareham athlete stormed to an emotional win in Birmingham – just a week after her father, Irwin, lost his battle with cancer.
The gutsy 13-year-old overcame injury problems to deliver a dramatic shot-putt success with a throw of 11m 42cm on the national stage.
Cavanagh’s win is an amazing tale of resolve in the face of adversity.
But her mother, Vicki, knew there was never any doubt the ‘fighter’ would compete in her father’s name.
She said: ‘Millie is a special girl. She went out there to try to get the gold – and she couldn’t have done any better.
‘Millie is determined and wanted that medal. It was very emotional.
‘She deserves this. Her dad knew she could win this, and she went out and won her fight.
‘It’s amazing to show that fire.
‘She could have said she didn’t want to go. But she wanted to do it for her dad.’
Cavanagh’s success has been made all the more impressive with her taking up the shot only in February, after a back problem stopped her competing in her preferred pentathlon event.
She had to show all of her grit to win gold for her father.
Her mother Vicki added: ‘Everyone was willing her on because of her dad.
‘She was in the lead and, in the fifth throw, the other girl threw 11m 11cm.
‘Millie said she wasn’t having that and then went out and threw 11m 42cm. She’s a fighter.’
Also among the medals at the Alexander Stadium was Cowplain Community School pupil Leslie Parkes, who won hammer and relay gold.
HEART OF A CHAMPION n PAGE 44