Sophie qualifies for Berlin as she lands another British title
Sophie Hitchon claimed a fourth-successive hammer title at the Muller British Athletics Championships at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Sunday.
And, in the process, the Olmpic bronze medallist rubber-stamped her place at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin in August.
The 26-year-old was in fine form, her second-best throw of the season – 72.02m –in the third and final round, sealing victory by more than 10 metres, and setting a new championships record.
She set the bar high with her first throw, easing into the lead with 69.66m, before improving to 71.28m in the second round to lead by 10 metres from Jessica Mayho.
Her final throw went further still, to land what was a seventh British title in total, and she will now go into the a Athletics World Cup at the London Stadium next weekend – ahead of the Euros in August – in confident mood, although, typically, she feels there is even more to come.
She said: “It’s all about coming and trying to regain the title and qualify for the Europeans was obviously the main goal.
“I have still got a lot of things to work on.
“Still some hiccups in there, but we will get there.
“Sometimes when you change things it takes a while and do it every single time, which is where I am at the moment.
“Once I get some consistency I think it will be really good, but, like I have said before, it might not happen this year, it’s more about long-term really.”
Earlier this year, she unveiled a new throwing style, as she looks to reach a new level in her throwing.
While there were teething problems, as three no-throws saw her eliminated from the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia – where she was favourite for gold – she is looking for long-term gain.
She explained: “I’ve changed a bunch of stuff with my throw.
“The style is completely different to last year.
“We decided to go to the next level we needed to kind of change things up.
“It’s a long term goal.
“We’ll be working on this for the next two and a half years until the Tokyo Olympics.
“For the whole of my career I’ve started with the toe turn at the beginning.
“A lot of athletes use that just to fit in the amount of turns, but then it does reduce the amount of linear force you get out of the throw.
“So we’ve switched to a twist heel turn.
“Instead of one toe and three heel, I do four heel turns.
“A lot of women do that because their feet are smaller and fit in the circle easier.
“Theoretically it creates more linear force, which you want.
“We think it’s the way forward. If we didn’t think it was the way forward, we wouldn’t have switched.”
She added: “It’s not particularly more difficult, it’s just how I learnt to throw was the toe turn, and it’s done me really well, so I’m not complaining about it. But we decided to get the extra metres to step up.
“It’s been difficult, throwing the way I throw got the last 10 years, and it’s really difficult to get out of the habit.
“It seems like a big change but it’s not. It’s just about executing what we’ve been doing.”
PICTURE: B&O PRESS PHOTO