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A struggle for Sophie in windy Poland
BURNLEY hammer star Sophie Hitchon recorded her lowest mark in competition this year as windy conditions hit competitors hard at the 12th European Athletics Festival in Poland.
The 20-year-old Blackburn Harrier travelled to Bydgoszcz intending to build on her incredible early season success that included breaking her own UK record three times, the latter a throw of 71.61m in Chula Vista, California, that booked her place at the London Olympics.
But Hitchon could only come fourth at the European Athletics outdoor premium meeting on Sunday, her top effort of 66.44m some way short of her personal best.
The Loughborough student registered 60.34m with her first throw of six. A second throw of 65.63m, sandwiched between two disqualified attempts, was a big improvement.
Hitchon then threw 66.34m and 66.44m in her final two efforts, battling against a strong wind and cold temperatures.
Poland’s Joanne Fiodrorow, coming into the competition with a best of just 71.51m, shocked everyone by heaving the hammer out to 74.18m in the first round.
Hungary’s Eva Orban took the runner-up spot with 67.13m and third went to Moldova’s Marina Marghieva with 67.01m.
Two years ago, the meet in Bydgoszcz saw Anita Wlodarczyk set a world record in the hammer, but she was not present on this occasion.
It was not Hitchon’s first appearance in the Polish city, having competed there in 2008 for the World Junior Championships.