Hammer ace Sophie ready to take on world’s best in Moscow

Sophie Hitchon shows off her gold medal at the European Under 23 Championships in Tampere with grandmother Marjorie Tomlinson

Sophie Hitchon shows off her gold medal at the European Under 23 Championships in Tampere with grandmother Marjorie Tomlinson

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After her gold medal at the European Under 23 Championships in Finland last month, Sophie Hitchon again pulls on the Great Britain vest next week at the IAAF Worth Athletics Championships in Moscow.

The 22-year-old goes into her second World Championships in relaxed mood after winning in Tampere, where she was ranked number one.

Two years ago she went to Daegu in South Korea and went out in qualifying, throwing 64.93m, having won bronze in the European Under 23s in Ostrava earlier that year with a new British record, of 69.59m.

The experience was beneficial, however, competing against the likes of world record holder Betty Heidler, and she has since furthered her British record seven times - including in qualifying for the Olympic Final in London last summer, when she went on to finish 12th at her first Games.

Her current mark stands at 72.97m, set in June in Gateshead at the European Athletics Team Championships.

She again hopes to make the final in the Luzhniki Stadium, as she said: “I’d love to make the final, and finish maybe higher than at the Olympics, but there’s no pressure on me.

“I’ve learned from Daegu, I’ve got nothing to lose, I’m just enjoying competing.”

Qualifying is held on Wednesday from 6-30 a.m. UK time, with the final next Friday at 4 p.m.

Rubbing shoulders with the likes of double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah and Olympic silver winner Christine Ohuruogu - who captain’s the squad is also becoming second nature for Sophie, who was named in a 60-strong British Athletics team for the championships, which start on Sunday and run until August 19th.

British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black is excited about the potential of the team: “We are without question, genuinely, in a better position going into the world championships than we were before London 2012.

“We are better prepared. We are more focused. And we are even more excited in the potential that will come from this competition.

He is also excited about the younger athletes, including Sophie Hitchon: “I’m not for a second suggesting they will all compete for medals but we would not be surprised if one of them takes a giant leap and gives the world a bit of shock.”