Sophie Hitchon steps back to focus on Tokyo Olympics

BYDGOSZCZ, POLAND - AUGUST 11: Sophie Hitchon from Great Britain & Northern Ireland competes in women's hammer throw final while European Athletics Team Championships Super League Bydgoszcz 2019 - Day Three at Zawisza Stadium on August 11, 2019 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
BYDGOSZCZ, POLAND - AUGUST 11: Sophie Hitchon from Great Britain & Northern Ireland competes in women's hammer throw final while European Athletics Team Championships Super League Bydgoszcz 2019 - Day Three at Zawisza Stadium on August 11, 2019 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

Burnley’s Olympic hammer bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon has called a premature halt to her 2019 season to focus on Tokyo 2020.

The 28-year-old endured a frustrating 2018, after moving from a toe turn in the throwing circle, to a twist heel turn, to create more linear force.

She registered three no throws in the Commonwealth Games final, while she was eighth at the European Championships in Berlin.

And this year has also been a struggle, throwing three times, with a best throw of 67.51m – well down on her personal best of 74.54m set in Rio in 2016.

Sophie threw 67.51m in Osaka, Japan at an IAAF World Challenge Meeting in May, and a fortnight ago hit 63.23m for 10th in Bydgoszcz, Poland at the European Athletics Team Championships.

Her only other appearance came in June in Turku, Finland at another IAAF World Challenge Meeting, where she failed to register a mark.

She said in a statement: “My main priority is Tokyo.

“Ending my season now will give me the right preparation time in order to get there.”

Earlier this year she had said to me: “The Olympics is always going to be the main focus. At the end of the day I would rather get another Olympic medal, and that is my main focus.”

There was still time to hit the IAAF qualifying standard for the World Championships in Doha at the end of September, having until September 6th to make 71m,

But for now, it looks like a case of fine-tuning her technique ahead of a potential third Olympic Games.

As she said in May: “Last year was frustrating, the potential is high, but I didn’t always get it right. That’s the aim, to stabilise the technique – the building blocks are there for next year. Training is about how I can get it feeling right every single day, and that is when the big throws come out – it’s about consistency.”