Junior mens 400m hurdles champion Oliver Miller is one of a wave of talented teenagers currently developing in the sport. Here we find out more about the 17-year-old from the Pt Chevalier Athletics Club.

Why and how did you start in the sport of athletics?

I started athletics aged eight after watching a friend compete at the Auckland champs. All I can remember from that day is just how much I wanted to get out there and run. Shortly after I signed up with my local club - Pt Chevalier - and I havent looked back.

What was your first significant win?

My first significant win was at the 2010 Colgate Games at Mt Smart Stadium. I was aged ten at the time and I competed in the 100m and 200m. I got my first big win in the 100m thanks to a flying start out of the blocks.

What was your first major setback?

My first major setback was a groin injury I suffered when I was 11. I had never been injured before and I hated the rehab process that I had to undergo. I wouldnt do the exercises that the physio gave me and it only prolonged the amount of time it took me to get back on the track competing.

Best piece of coaching advice?

The best piece of advice for me wasnt necessarily a piece of advice, but rather the introduction of hurdles to my programme, which I now specialise in. I have realised it is extremely hard to make it as a 400m international runner but there are opportunities in the 400m hurdles as less people compete in the event and you dont need to have the same raw speed as for the 400m flat.

What qualities do think every athlete needs to succeed?

In order for an athlete to succeed I believe there are a few things one needs. You need the drive to train and be consistent when it comes to training. But I also think it is the things you do off the track that makes a successful athlete, such as good sleep and eating healthily.

What is the most important thing you have learned from your time in the sport?

That while it is a competitive sport and I am competitive in it, it is also just running and it is not the end of the world if it doesnt all work out. Remembering to enjoy the sport as well as succeed in it is important.

What is the best thing about being an athlete?

Being an athlete is what Im known for. When people hear my name, they know me as the guy who does athletics, and I love that. Athletics is my thing, it is the thing that I can say Im good at and can be proud of. It also means that being an athlete makes me maintain a very healthy lifestyle and I think that is very important looking forward in life.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

I know this sounds clich being a runner but my favourite superhero is The Flash, so for me the superpower I want the most is super speed. The thought of being able to travel thousands of kilometres per hour is, to me, simply insane.

What is your hidden talent?

I have a hitchhikers thumb. I can bend it so that its facing almost back towards the base of my thumb.

What would be your last meal?

It would have to be a really good burger with a side of fries and a large milkshake, classic pub meal.

What is your karaoke song?

It would have to be Superstition by Stevie Wonder. While I cant get anywhere near to hitting the high notes I still enjoy the song.

What is your greatest indulgence?

It would have to be chocolate milk, I consume what some people might consider to be an unhealthy amount of it and although it is recommended as a great post training snack, I take it to another level when it comes to how much I drink.

If you could have three dinner party guests, who would they be and why?

Marc Gasol, who is the starting centre for my favourite basketball team the Memphis Grizzlies. He is my favourite basketball player. Bruce Wayne, he is one of my favourite fictional characters. And finally, Jesus, the conversations I could have with him would be potentially life changing and meeting someone you believe in but dont know if they exist or not would be awesome.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand