Sophie enjoys a productive weekend as she hits fine form

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Sophie Hitchon had a busy, but profitable, weekend.

On Saturday, competing in Halle, Germany, she threw a last-ditch 71.53m to finish fifth - an effort which easily beat the UK Athletics European Championships qualifying standard of 69m.

The throw also put her at the top of the British Athletics Power of Ten rankings - which she has topped each year since 2011.

After that seasonal best throw, she then flew back to England to compete in the Loughborough International meet on Sunday, where she finished first with an effort of 69.92m.

Her win helped England secured the team title yet again in the annual curtain raiser to the outdoor season, finishing well ahead of hosts Loughborough Students, Great Britain Juniors, Scotland, Wales and a British Universities team.

Sophie had a no throw in the first round, but surged out in front in the second with a throw of 69.04m, which would have been enough for victory, before her third round effort of 69.92m.

She held off competition from Scotland’s Rachel Hunter (66.30m), who finished second with the second-futhest throw ever from a Scot.

The two are likely to do battle again at Hampden Park at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in a couple of months’ time.

The British hammer record-holder had previously got her season underway in April in a positive fashion, with an effort of 69.08m at the Mount Sac Relays in California.

Sophie said: “I’ve got a couple more competitions in Europe now,then the European Team Championships (in Braunschweig, Germany) and the British Championships late next month, and once those start coming around, it will almost be time for the Commonwealths, and the Euros are a couple of weeks later.

“It’s about looking at what I do, focusing on myself and putting everything together, and getting lots of practice in.”

Sophie is expected to be the first name of three selected to represent England in Glasgiow, with the squad officially named in June.

The British record holder has already made the qualifying distance for the 20th Commonwealth Games, which start on July 23rd.

Sophie won gold in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune in 2008, but wasn’t in Delhi two years later, and is looking to add to her major championship experience, having now competed at two World Championships, in Daegu and Moscow, and the Olympics in London 2012, where she reached the final.

The 2010 World junior champion and 2011 European Under 23 bronze medalist is aiming to medal at the Commonwealth Games, saying recently: “The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are my main aim pretty much this year, with the Euros following on soon after.

“It will be my first senior Commonwealths after missing Delhi in 2010, and I’m looking forward to it.

“I’m hoping for a medal, to get on the podium would be a good achievement for my first games. And with the Euros in Zurich, it will depend on who is there, but I’ll be looking to make the top eight.”