Joseph Millar is one race away from being mentioned in the same sentence as an athlete he once idolised.
The Tauranga sprinter flew to his third-consecutive 100m title in 10.49s on day one of the national track and field championships at Newtown Park in Wellington yesterday.
Millar will now chase the 200m title tomorrow, which would mark the third time in a row he has achieved the sprint double.
The only man to have completed that feat three times on the bounce was former Olympian James Dolphin (2005-2007).
"To think I'm now doing what he did and I think back to when I first started doing athletics, he was my absolute idol," Millar said. "It's amazing to see how far I've come since being that kid looking up to my idol and being in awe of what he could do."
The 21-year-old was due to contest the 4x100m relay today as part of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty side and they were likely to start as hot favourites considering they made up the podium of the 100m final yesterday with Kodi Harman (10.54s) and Cameron French (10.72) finishing second and third respectively.
Millar hasn't been able to hit top speed for a while after tweaking his left knee on New Year's Day, which still bothers him. "I'd love for it [the injury] to be gone to let myself just really show what I can do," he said. "I guess my mind more than anything just needs to let go of it so I can get pumped and it will go away."
Millar's time in the 100m left him outside the B standard for the Commonwealth Games (10.21s) and he would need to beat his personal best of 20.81s in the 200m to reach the B mark of 20.60s to be in contention for Glasgow. He will compete in the Australian national championships in Melbourne next weekend.
In other notable results from day one, Aucklander William Crayford won his sixth national high jump title ahead of Jordan Peters from Manawatu-Wanganui and Auckland's Nneka Okpala claimed her fourth-straight national triple jump crown. Marshall Hall stormed to his fifth national discus title in six years after defending champion Tom Walsh pulled out at the last minute. Walsh faces Jacko Gill in their much publicised shot put duel today.