Sophie starts season in style with hammer win

Sophie Hitchon on her way to a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games last summer
Sophie Hitchon on her way to a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games last summer

Sophie Hitchon started her hammer season in style with victory at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto on Saturday.

Sophie won the women’s hammer in California with a throw of 69.20m – a mark she only beat three times last year.

Her efforts came two years after winning the same event with 70.53m – which was a meet and stadium record.

Meanwhile, in a year where Sophie’s major focus will be on the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China at the end of August, a second Olympic Games appearance is also a target.

As for Beijing, single entry standards for each gender have been announced rather than A and B standards.

The qualifying mark for Beijing is 70m, and Sophie is the only British athlete ever to have thrown over the Olympic women’s hammer target of 71m.

Sophie holds the British record with 72.97m, achieved in 2013 at the European Athletics Team Championships at Gateshead.

The qualification period began at the start of May, and runs until July 11th next year.

Speaking earlier this year, she admitted she is hoping 2015 will be a big year, as she looks to build on her Commonwealth Games bronze medal last summer.

She said: “The Worlds are in Beijing in August, and that is my main competition – everything is building up to that.

“I’d like to make the final, but we’ll see how things go.

“In the final, anything can happen then, and the top eight would be nice, but the final is my main goal.

“They’ve changed the qualifying standard for the Worlds – the qualifying mark is 70m this year, so hopefully I can get that out of the way as soon as possible.”