BURNLEY hammer thrower Sophie Hitchon insists she will head into the busy summer looking to prove a point after limping to gold at the Sainsbury’s British Championships on Sunday.
Heading into the competition at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium Hitchon was odds-on-favourite to claim victory as the only one of the field to throw over 70m.
But after failing to record a mark with her first two throws the London Olympian found herself needing to simply record a distance or risk exiting the competition empty handed.
The 22-year-old did exactly that and her distance of 65.56m with her third effort proved to be good enough to take home the gold with nearest challenger Carys Parry more than two metres further back.
Despite being crowned national champion Hitchon wasn’t about to pop any champagne corks with the winning distance some way off her personal best of 72.97m.
But with the Commonwealth Games and European Championships fast approaching, she is confident of proving herself when it matters most.
“I feel a bit in two minds really because I am glad I have come away with the win but my performance was the worst I have had all season,” said Hitchon, who hopes to compete throughout the Summer Series – events proudly backed by long-term supporter Sainsbury’s.
“Overall I am more disappointed with it than happy but I have to move forward towards the Commonwealths and Europeans.
“I am not really sure what happened but I just didn’t get connected with the hammer on the first couple of throws and that is never the best way to start because I have to get one in to make the top eight which is always a lot of pressure.
“I came into it ranked clear favourite and sometimes they are the hardest competitions because I feel the pressure.
“But I am confident I can go on and perform well at the Commonwealths and Europeans.”
Hitchon is fully aware that if she repeats her Sainsbury’s British Championships performance at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow then she will leave empty handed.
But the Blackburn Harrier is adamant she won’t allow that to happen.
“My training has been going really well and my performance in Birmingham doesn’t reflect where I am at all so I am positive and excited for the few weeks I have got ahead,” she added.
“If I throw 65m at the Commonwealth Games that will get me nowhere but I know I am capable of much more so I am confident I can perform at my best when it counts at the Commonwealth Games and Europeans.”
Elsewhere, Dwain Chambers, the old man of British sprinting, shocked his young rivals by beating them to the 100 metres crown yesterday afternoon.
The 36-year-old clinched his fifth straight domestic title in 10.12 seconds, edging out Harry Aikines-Aryeetey by just 0.02secs at the Alexander Stadium.
Favourite Chijindu Ujah was third in 10.18.
Chambers’ victory booked his place on the Great Britain team for August’s European Championships in Zurich.
He was ranked 10th in the country going into the weekend, though, and had to call on all his experience to hold back the tide of young talent, headed by Ujah, who ran 9.96 earlier this month.
And the former drug cheat admitted his career could have been over had the race not gone to plan.
“It is just such a relief; there is a lot of young potential out there,” Chambers said.
“I was running for my life. Any one of those guys could have got me, everyone raises their intensity, so I knew I had to raise my performance too and fortunately I did it.”
n Sainsbury’s is proud to support British Athletics through the Summer Series events and committed to helping young people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. For more information visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/legacy