Fourteen year old Robert Miller is a six-time medallist at the Scottish Disability Athletics Championships, is shortlisted for the Scottish Football Association Development Squad and has won multiple youth awards for his dedication to sport.
At an early age Robert was diagnosed with right-sided cerebral palsy and a heart condition, two factors his family thought would shape his health and his future. Little did they know his enthusiasm, determination and character would lead to a nomination to carry the Queen’s Baton around his native Argyle.
Robert’s mother Karen tempered her son’s love of sport and is incredibly proud of the strides Robert has made, both as an athlete and as an example of overcoming adversity:
“We taught Robert that if you can’t achieve something the first time round, you can try again and you’ll come back stronger. Any child that has a condition or a disability needs some kind of limitations, but we had faith in Robert and we trust him to know his body’s limits.”
Robert has been an inspiration in para-sport and to children faced with similar challenges:
“Sports really help with my cerebral palsy” explains Robert. “I would say to other children in similar situations to live their lives, try the things they want to try and not put their heads down.”
Robert has a tally of personal awards including the Argyll and Bute Youth Sporting Award, and represented Dunoon Grammar School at the Scottish Disability Athletics Championships, where he attained one gold medal and two silver medals in 2012, and three gold medals in 2013. He says of his achievements:
“I was quite surprised to hear I’d been selected as a batonbearer for the Queen’s Baton Relay, as so many people got nominated. What I remember from those athletics competitions is getting to the finishing line and then waiting nervously until I heard if I had won a medal!”
Neil McFarlane, the former Heart of Midlothian footballer and current Coventry City coach played a part in Robert's sporting childhood. His child minder was the ex-star’s mother from when he was just six months old – a factor that Robert’s father Lorne believes triggered a love of football and sports in general:
“Robert is a hard-working, determined young man with time for everyone he meets; I think this comes from his sporting influences as a child. He’s your typical teenager who likes his music and football, but because of his achievements he is asked to do great things like turn on the Christmas lights in our town or carry the Queen’s Baton through Argyle.
“We told him from an early age to embrace his time in sport and follow whatever interests him. We only want Robert to enjoy himself and continue to use sport as a way of staying fit and having fun.”
The Queen’s Baton Relay will travel over 190,000 kilometres through 69 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, before arriving in Scotland on 14 June 2014.
The baton will be in Argyll on Sunday 13 July, stopping at Oban, Lochgilphead, Inveraray, Strachur and Dunoon.
Find out more about The Queen’s Baton Relay and the journey through the Commonwealth.