A UNIVERSITY of Brighton graduate bagged the 1,500m title at the British Athletics Championships at the weekend.

George Mills, who studied sport and exercise science, claimed victory in the final with a time of 3:51:39.

The event in Manchester would have served as the trials for the Olympic Games, had the coronavirus crisis not struck.

The triumph makes George a double British champion over the distance, having claimed the 1500m title at the British Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow in February.

Asked if he had expected such success, George said: “Not at all – I knew if I worked hard I may be in a position to challenge for a couple of medals, or even reach a final at the outdoor championships, but with how everything’s turned out, I can’t complain at all – I’m over the moon.

“For all of my successes, it’s a massive thank you to my family, my coach and my whole support team – they’ve been an integral part of all this.

“You’ve got to enjoy those moments, and there’s no better feeling than winning, especially in the national championships.”

George plans to stay in Sussex and continue representing the Brighton Phoenix athletics club. He trains under renowned coach Jon Bigg at the Phoenix Track Club, which lists British Olympians Charlie Da’Vall Grice and Elliot Giles among its athletes.

George is the son of ex-England, Leeds United and Manchester City footballer Danny Mills.

In a post-race interview with BBC Sport, he joked: “[My dad’s] on holiday at the moment so I don’t know if he’s going to be that bothered.

“I rang him after the interviews and he just said, well done, you’ve earned that one, you’ve worked really hard and you executed that plan really well. All of my family were delighted.”

George puts much of his success down to the sport science he learnt at the university and the support he was given as a sports scholar.

He said: “Whether that’s recovery, adapting things slightly, everyone I’ve met along the way, including my lecturers, have been such a big help.”

Rob Nitman, who runs the sports scholarship programme, called Sport Brighton, said: “Everyone at Sport Brighton is incredibly proud of George’s achievements in 2020.

“This is credit to his path as a student-athlete over the past few years. Having had an injury-troubled 2017/18 campaign, his persistence, dedication and humility since then have laid the foundation for his recent success.”