SOPHIE Hitchon is the pride of Burnley after sealing her place at the London Olympics on Saturday.
The 20-year-old hammer ace was virtually assured of her place in Team GB after passing the A qualifying standard of 71.50m, reaching 71.61m - a new UK record - in Chula Vista, California, in April.
A National Olympic Committee can enter up to three qualified athletes in each individual event if all athletes meet the A standard, or one athlete per event if they meet the B standard of 69m.
But allied with her A standard throw, a top two position in the Olympic trials at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium would mean automatic selection for the Games.
And the former Ivy Bank pupil became the first athlete of the trials weekend to confirm their place on the Olympic team, winning comfortably with a best throw of 69.79m.
Hitchon - the 2010 world junior champion - beamed: “I’m really excited.
“I can’t really believe it yet.
“I’ve been throwing really well in training and just wanted to come here and finish first or second and now I’m on the team.”
Last season Sophie had her first major championship experience as she finished 13th in qualifying at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
And she has built on that this year, breaking the British record a further three times, including her personal best of 71.61m.
Her performances suggest a place in the final in London is a realistic target, and her coach Derek Evely said: “I think 72m or 73m is not out of the question this year.”