21st June 2016

Hitchon Hoping For Third British Title

21 June 2016

Sophie Hitchon (coach: Tore Gustafsson) heads into this weekend’s British Championships hoping to sew up Hammer qualification for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

Following a tough year with injuries in 2014, 2015 saw Hitchon return to form, laying down a marker for British hammer with a throw of 73.86m for a fourth place finish at Beijing’s World Championships  – an event in which she also revised her own British record, adding 89cm to her previous best from 2013.

Having opened her season in Kingston, Jamaica last month, Hitchon has since thrown three Olympic standards and appears in strong form, stating: “My training has gone really well – I’m further along than I was at this point in 2015, which I felt was my strongest so far, so you can’t ask for much more.”

Hitchon is current British champion and presently tops the 2016 British rankings for Hammer by a distance of 4.73m, with Sale Harriers athlete Sarah Holt (John Pearson) closest behind. This weekend’s British Championships at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham will offer Hitchon the opportunity to preserve her title for the third consecutive year, a title she holds dear.

“Winning the British Championships is a great achievement and I’m always proud to do that when I can – it’s always a really proud moment to be able to say you’re British champion so it’s definitely something I’m looking to retain.”

Speaking of competing at the Alexander Stadium, Hitchon added: “To compete somewhere that you’re familiar with is always nice, you know what to expect and what everything is like. It’s definitely a confidence boost going back to somewhere where you’ve been successful before too.”

Having secured the two required Olympic qualifying standards early on last year, a top two finish at the Championships would secure qualification and a place on the plane for Rio, a task the Blackburn Harriers athlete is focused on achieving with the utmost professionalism.

“Obviously top two is the plan but I don’t take anything lightly because that’s when you can begin to make mistakes – I always try to go into each competition with the same aims whether I’m ranked last or first, and I’ll always go in with the same expectations and preparations.”

Despite her relatively young age of 24, Hitchon is no stranger to the international stage having competed at three World Championships, two Europeans and an Olympic Games, with the Commonwealth bronze medallist hopeful that the experience gained will stand her in good stead as she looks to compete in both the European Championships and Olympic Games this summer.

“I try to take as much experience as I can from each competition. Every time I compete I’m learning, so regardless of what happens or wherever I place, it’s a case of ‘I can learn from that’ for the next event.

“Obviously field event-wise the European Championships are always a tough competition, whilst there’s also the fact that most of the competitors for the Olympics will be European athletes too, so it’ll definitely be a tough test.”

Should she secure qualification for Rio as anticipated, Hitchon is looking to stay grounded with her expectations and ambitions.

“I’ve always had massively high expectations for myself, so in terms of my personal expectations they haven’t changed a great deal. Obviously I’d love to extend my PB a little further – that’s always an aim. If I could improve on my place from the previous Olympic Games too I’d be really pleased, but again it’s about getting through the rounds, from there I can revise my goals and expectations once again before preparing for whatever comes next.”

You can follow Sophie’s journey on Twitter at @SophieHitchon and via her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Sophie-Hitchon-290156307720932/

For tickets to the British Championships visit http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/2016_Athletics_Season