Sophie selected in podium group for Rio Olympics

Great Britain's Sophie Hitchon smiles after her throw in the Women's Hammer Throw final during day six of the IAAF World Championships at the Beijing National Stadium, China. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 27, 2015. See PA story ATHLETICS World. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No transmission of sound or moving images and no video simulation. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information

Great Britain's Sophie Hitchon smiles after her throw in the Women's Hammer Throw final during day six of the IAAF World Championships at the Beijing National Stadium, China. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 27, 2015. See PA story ATHLETICS World. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No transmission of sound or moving images and no video simulation. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information

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Sophie Hitchon has retained her British Athletics funding ahead of next year’s Rio Olympics.

Hitchon finished fourth in the hammer at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, and is one of the athletes to be offered support through UK Athletics’ World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) for 2015 – 2016.

I look forward to working with these exceptionally talented athletes as we head into an Olympic and Paralympic year

British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black

Funded by the National Lottery through UK Sport, WCPP selection is based upon the potential to win medals at an Olympic or Paralympic Games, and is split into two levels: Podium (for athletes with the potential to medal at Rio 2016) and Podium Potential (for athletes developing towards Tokyo 2020).

Hitchon, coached by Tore Gustafsson, produced the performance of her life to finish fourth in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in August – twice beating her own British record.

The former World junior champion threw 73.65m to set a new British best, before going out to 73.86m, to claim fourth spot, missing out on bronze by 16cm.

She is one of 21 in the Podium group, named among the cream of UK athletics with Dina Asher-Smith, Holly Bradshaw, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, Adam Gemili, Robbie Grabarz, Dai Greene, Zharnel Hughes, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Laura Muir, Christine Ohuruogu, Andrew Osagie, Tiffany Porter, Andy Pozzi, Shara Proctor, Greg Rutherford, William Sharman, Lynsey Sharp, Lorraine Ugen and Laura Weightman.

British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black said: “2015 was an excellent year for the British Athletics teams at both the IAAF and IPC World Championships, in Beijing and Doha respectively, and I am confident those we have invited onto the 2015-16 WCPP will build on the foundations and successes achieved over the last 12 months.

“Our immediate focus is firmly on medals next year in Rio 2016, followed by London 2017 when we will host both the IAAF and IPC World Athletics Championships.

“From there, the attention shifts to Tokyo 2020.

“Our WCPP selections absolutely reflect that focus and all the athletes selected will be expected to fulfil tough performance criteria.

“I look forward to working with these exceptionally talented athletes as we head into an Olympic and Paralympic year, which also includes the World Indoor Championships and the (European Athletics and IPC) European Championships.

“I am particularly delighted that 10 athletes from our Futures Programme are being offered the chance to now join the WCPP. They are in addition to the 28 Futures graduates already on WCPP.”

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