Commonwealth Games bronze for Burnley’s Sophie

Sophie Hitchon tonight claimed a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games hammer final at Hampden Park.
Sophie Hitchon. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire.Sophie Hitchon. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire.
Sophie Hitchon. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire.

The Burnley athlete had set out at the start of the season to win a medal at the Games, and was not troubled in the podium positions after her first throw, although she couldn’t peg back New Zealand’s Julia Ratcliffe and defending champion Sultana Frizell, who again took gold.

Sophie took an initial lead with her first throw of 67.58m, before being overtaken by Ratcliffe, who went out to 68.35m, and Frizell of Canada, who broke the Games record she set in qualifying with a throw of 70.55m.

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She remained third after the first round, with only one competitor outside the medals with a personal best better than her first throw, leaving her firmly in medal contention.

Sophie fouled in round two, while Ratcliffe improved to 68.68m, and Frizell again threw over 70m - 70.29m.

Round three saw Sophie throw 64.46m, while Ratcliffe again went further, recording 69.96m, with Frizell slightly down at 68.53m, to leave the Burnley athlete still in third place, with England teammate Sarah Holt breathing down her neck after a season’s best 65.67m.

The field went from 12 to the top eight for the final three throws, with Sophie fouling in round four, although it was as you were in the medal places, with Frizell and Ratcliffe failing to add to their best throws.

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Sophie threw 66.19m in the penultimate round, as she held onto the bronze medal position, while Ratcliffe threw 69.47m, but Frizell again broke the Games record, throwing 71.97m to extend her lead.

Holt couldn’t improve on her best to take a medal from her England teammate, and Sophie put everything into her final throw, going out to 68.72m - her best effort of the Games.

It was enough for bronze, as Ratcliffe recorded a no throw, and Frizell closed with 70.60m as she took the title for a second successive time.