Olympic bronze medalist focusing on the long term
Sophie Hitchon gave her all in the European Championships hammer final overnight but had to settle for eighth among an exceptionally strong field.
The 27-year-old, who won bronze at the Rio Olympics in 2016, threw well in the final – which was a World Championship field in all but name – but watched on as Polish great Anita Wlodarczyk took gold.
Hitchon threw well in her first three attempts, recording 68.80m first up, before a 70.52m effort saw her into the final eight.
Three fouls followed, but Hitchon has talked all week of focusing on the long term, and the message was the same after the final.
“I think I knew from qualification – and have known all this year; it’s been hurting most of this year – the best competition of the year was at the World Cup, that felt the best,” said Hitchon.
“I just need some more timing with the way I’m throwing now – it’s been such a big change in my technique this year.
“I could have easily not competed this year – I’m working on new stuff and I’m not going to put myself out there, but I want to compete for my country and went in wanting to give it everything I’ve got.
“I’m obviously disappointed but I couldn’t have done anything else – I had a bunch of fouls, but that’s what I had to do; I had to go in strong, but it didn’t hold together.”
And while Wlodarczyk took gold with a throw of 78.94m, France’s Alexandra Tavernier took silver and Joanna Fiodorow bronze.
Burnley thrower Hitchon, six-time national champion, will now return to training with Swedish great Tore Gustafsson and set goals for the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
Elsewhere in Berlin, there were plenty more medals for Great Britain on the track as Laura Muir claimed a maiden major outdoor gold and Dina Asher-Smith completed a historic sprint triple.
Muir, 25, was the overwhelming favourite for the 1,500m title and ran confidently, taking up a pace 900m metres out that none of her competitors could live with.
Laura Weightman claimed a bronze alongside her and Eilish McColgan used all of her experience to collect a silver in the 5,000m final.
The men’s 4x100m relay team also sprinted to gold but this was the night of Dina.
Her team ran well but ultimately Asher-Smith took hold of the baton in fourth position, put on the afterburners, and the rest is history.
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