SOPHIE Hitchon gave herself a late birthday present as she won bronze in the hammer at the European Under 23 Championships in Ostrava on Saturday - extending her own British record in the process.
Sophie, who turned 20 last Monday, again produced her best in the heat of a major competition, throwing 69.59m - beating her previous UK best by 16cm.
She broke the UK senior record twice in May at her first meet of the season, the BUCS Championships in Bedford, winning with 69.43m - an Olympic and World Championships B qualifying standard throw.
And the World Junior champion said after adding another major medal to her haul in the Czech Republic: “It’s great, I knew I was in PB shape so I’m pleased, but that 70m is becoming a bit of a barrier for me at the minute.
“I’m really pleased with how I’ve done though; I’m still young and I’ve got another go at these Championships.
“The Polish girl who finished in second (Joanna Fiodorow) threw an unbelievable PB; it was a really amazing throw so she deserved it.
“I am pleased though, that 70m will come eventually.”
She qualified for the final with ease after an initial no throw, her second effort of 66.02m good enough for automatic progression.
The day before the former Ivy Bank pupil turned 20, she warmed up for the Europeans at the McCain UKA Challenge Jumpsfest and Throwsfest at the Barnet Copthall Stadium in London, finishing with a best throw of 68.95m while up against training partner Zoe Derham and the previous European Under 23 bronze medallist Sarah Holt.
Her winning throw was the second best result ever by a British woman in the history of the event, and she followed it up with throws of 67.62m and 67.87m.