9th July 2009

Further Trials And Tribulations


09 July 2009

In the latest of our series leading up to this weekend’s Aviva World Trials and UK Championships, seven-times AAAs javelin champion Mick Hill recalls some of his outstanding memories of the national championships, including some memorable duels with Olympic silver medallist Steve Backley.

Hill said: “My most memorable AAAs performance came in 1996 when my career was saved by my very last throw. I had undergone shoulder decompression surgery at the end of the 1995 season having finished 6th in the World Championships and therefore I was unable to train much over the winter months as a result my throwing shoulder was not in great shape.

“Steve Backley was injured and I finished second in the trials to guarantee Olympic selection. This performance undoubtedly kept me in the sport and I remember the utter relief and emotion as if it was today. I wasn’t one to show too much emotion but the odd tear was shed following that throw when I got a hug from my wife Steph at the back of the run-up after the competition.

“Steve was one of the world’s best athletes. To beat him meant I had to perform well and even when I didn’t get the better of him I still had some very long throws to come second. I have very fond memories of great crowd support for us both especially at Birmingham on a number of occasions, most notably in 1992 when we both threw over 85m.”

In 1994, Hill did get the better of his great rival. Hill recalls: “I got married in March that year in the Seychelles and went to South Africa for my honeymoon and also to train and compete. Steve beat me in all three competitions in South Africa, in the last one at Cape Town I threw over 85m in the first round so I knew I was in good shape coming into the UK season.

“Before to the competition- because it was in Yorkshire and because I had beaten Steve in the Worlds the year before – 3rd to his 4th – there was quite a bit of media interest. Steve had said on TV that he was going to hammer me so it was definitely game on!

“We both threw over 84m but I was slightly further so he was made to eat his words! That unfortunately didn’t happen enough for my liking but it was enjoyable and meant I got the European Cup spot that year and not him.”