Family man Kilty has extra reason to win gold again

Family man Kilty has extra reason to win gold again
European Athletics

Great Britain's Richard Kilty is considered one of the world's best 60m specialist having won both World and European indoor titles.

Two years ago, Richard Kilty left Prague a happy man, with a gold medal safely stored away in his bag after winning the 60m at the last European Athletics Indoor Championships. What he did not realise at the time was that it was the weekend which would change his life.

The Great Britain sprinter is back to defend that title here in Belgrade – now as a father, after his fiancée Dovi gave birth to their son, also called Richard, five months ago.

And athletics truly does run in the family.

Dovi is Lithuania's star triple jumper Dovile Dzindzaletaite and it was in 2015, at those European Indoors in the Czech Republic, where the pair met and now live together in his native North East of England.

"It's exactly two years," said Kilty, 27, as he prepared for the 60m on Saturday, the second day of the championships.

"It's crazy to think from when I first saw her to the time I come to defend this title there will be a baby and we will be engaged.

"We started to see more of each other in Beijing that summer (at the world championships) and then travelled back and forwards. I would go to Valencia, where she lived, to watch her train and, vice verse, she would come over to the North East and then she decided to move across.

"In the past I was just thinking about myself, travelling around all the time, no commitment, and then suddenly I met my fiancée, she became pregnant and it has been an absolute blessing for us.

"It has been great to have a family and hopefully we will be getting married in the next couple of months. It's exciting times ahead."

Lithuania's Dovile Dzindzaletaite here competing at the Tallinn 2015 European Athletics U23 Championships.
Lithuania's Dovile Dzindzaletaite here competing at the Tallinn 2015 European Athletics U23 Championships.

While Kilty was winning gold in Prague, Dzindzaletaite, now 23, missed out on the final but it became a memorable 2015 for her because she then won the European Under-23 title in Tallinn having been world junior silver medallist in Barcelona in 2012.

Dzindzaletaite is already back training and they will both be determined to make an impression together at this summer's IAAF World Championships in London but first, Kilty wants to go home with another gold for the new inspiration in his life.

In a season where suffered a false start in the 60m final at the national championships in Sheffield after wearing a fellow runner's spikes when his were stolen before the race, Kilty is driven on even more now to make his son proud of him.

He said: "When I went out to the training camp in Tenerife, he was doing new things when I came back. It is amazing to see him change so quickly.

"I am really enjoying the journey at the moment and the motivation I get out of that if sometimes you are in a really tough session.

"I want him to be proud of me when he goes to school, that he can tell all the other kids that 'my dad won this competition, won that competition and achieved this'. It really motivates me to give him a better life and the better I do in athletics, the better life he will have."

Kilty said that Dovi is in great shape in her training and added: "It has made her a little bit stronger and she will be ready to compete on the Diamond League circuit and at the world championships. She has a big future ahead."

And so it seems does Richard jnr.

"Our son is pretty strong," said Kilty. "He already walks at five months and he can hold on to you and pull his body up. He is freakishly strong and developed for a baby but we will not put any pressure on him. We will let him decide what he wants to do – athletics is a hard sport. If that is what he chooses, then we will support him."

With a personal best of 6.49 from when he won the world indoors in Sopot in 2014, Kilty would love to lower that this weekend.

His triumph in Prague in 2015 was in 6.51 but as we all now know, that was only part of his story at the last European Athletics Indoor Championships.