STEPHEN MILLER believes a classification error cost him gold on day one of the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea – adamant he’d never seen the eventual winner before.
The three-time Paralympic gold medallist produced a best effort 30.68m in the F32 club final but was no match for Russian Vladislav Frolov who won with a distance of 34.10m from the third of his six attempts.
For Miller it was a reminder of Beijing 2008, where his run of three successive Paralympic titles was ended by a similar situation as he was again beaten into silver by Tunisian Mourad Idoudi.
And the 34-year-old wasn’t just upset about having to settle for silver himself in Swansea but also because British team-mate Thomas Green slipped from third to fourth after Frolov’s attempts.
“I think it’s quite clear to see that the guy who won was in the wrong class,” said Miller. “I don’t like to go on about the classifications but I’ve had bad experiences in the past and it seems to keep happening.
“I’ve never seen him before in my life and to me he doesn’t look like an F32 [athlete], so I don’t really understand how they’ve come to that decision. It has cost me a gold medal and it has cost Thomas a bronze medal.”
Miller’s best throw of 30.68m was some way off his personal best, which stands at 34.37m, but he was more disappointed to not reach at least his season’s best of 31.78m.
Miller is hopeful that the performances of himself and Green will still inspire others who were watching on.
“It was a great atmosphere out there and there were a lot of people in the stadium, so it was really fun to compete,” he added.
“I’ve been competing for a long time now but we’re not used to getting such big crowds. It was a good competition and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
“The [Paralympic] athletes are well known now and everyone is getting behind us, and that’s what we need for the sport.”
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