Birthday girl has Olympic potential

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BIRTHDAY girl Sophie Hitchon outlined her potential as a future Olympian by reaching the final of the World Junior Championships hammer in Bydgoszcz, Poland this week.

Burnley Schools' Sixth Form student Sophie is 17 today, and celebrated early by throwing 59.57m to ease into the hammer final on Tuesday.

And, representing England, she backed that up with an amazing seventh-place finish the following day, throwing 58.45m.

Although the Blackburn Harrier, who took gold in the Norwich Union All England Under 20 Championships in Bedford last month, was disappointed with her throws in the final, the experience can only stand her in good stead for her future international career.

And the worrying news for all hammer throwers is Sophie will still be eligible for the World Juniors again in two years' time!

The UK Under 20 record holder's personal best currently stands at 60.73m, achieved at a meeting in Halle, Germany in May.

And Sophie, whose goal is to compete at the London Olympics in 2012, and beyond, now has her sights set on the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India in October, where she has been selected to represent Great Britain.

In May, Sophie won the rising star award at the Burnley Community Sports Awards, having won a headline-makers award in the Pendle Sports Awards last year.