BURNLEY’S Sophie Hitchon has her eyes on a new UK record after earning a place on the plane to Daegu for the IAAF World Athletics Championships!
The World junior hammer champion and current British record holder - aged just 20 - is part of a 67-strong GB squad for the championships in South Korea from August 27th to September 4th.
The former Ivy Bank pupil joins the likes of Phillips Idowu, Jess Ennis and Mo Farah in the squad - a reward for establishing herself as the UK number one.
Having won the AVIVA National Championships and Trials in Birmingham at the end of July, she earned the right to be selected, but faced a wait for her place to be rubber-stamped.
Sophie is the only British hammer thrower to make the B standard - twice - the latest being her British record mark of 69.59m, set on her way to the bronze medal at the European Under 23 Championships in Ostrava.
And she can’t wait to take on the world: “This will be my first senior championships. I have been to the world junior championships before, but this is a big step up for me.
“I am really excited about competing because this year has gone so well, and to be selected for the team on top of that is amazing.
“I have competed against some of the girls that will be there before, so it will not be such a big shock.”
A place in the final is well within her reach, and she added: “It is just going to be great to go over to South Korea and try and see if I can get my personal best there.
“It will be a really big step if I can get through to the final, but it is also a great chance to get some experience of a senior championship ready for the Olympics next summer.
“This will be the biggest competition of my career so far and I hope to do my best.”
Sophie is fast becoming something of a poster girl for a new generation of up and coming British athletes, and is taking the attention in her stride: “Just before my first British record throw I was on the front of Athletics Weekly, which was surreal.
“But it’s good to be able to get some recognition for the event as it’s not the most popular.
“I’m really enjoying the attention, but you have to keep things in perspective, keep up my training, learning from people and the recognition should come from your hard work.”
She is blazing a trail along with other talented young British athletes - which bodes well for next summer: “The team is doing really well, Lawrence Okoye threw a British discus record in July, as did Holly Bleasdale in the pole vault - everything is going forward into next year and hopefully we can all do well.
“There are a lot of youngsters coming through the ranks, and we need all the experience we can get.
“Things are going really well and I’m just looking forward. Everyone’s getting really excited - it’s all getting closer and closer.
“It’s just a great feeling to be able to be in with a shout.”