SOPHIE Hitchon won her Olympic bronze at last year’s Rio Olympics, with a big British record throw of 74.54 metres, and now the glamour with the hammer is hoping to better that again in the World Championships in London.

Two years ago the World Championships was her big breakthrough – and Hitchon followed up with a place on the Olympic podium 12 months ago.

No British athlete, male or female, had ever done that in the hammer and it was the first time a British woman had won an Olympic field event medal in nearly 30 years.

“Winning the Olympic medal was the most special moment in my athletics life, and nobody can take that away, what happened in Rio,” said Hitchon, who will begin her World Championships challenge in today’s qualifiers with the final on Monday.

“I always put huge expectations on myself and I really wanted to go out and perform.

“I knew that if I did that, I would be in with a shout of winning a medal.

“But 2015, in China, was the big step forward, the turning point of my career I think.

“The Olympic medal was everyone else’s realisation that I could do it.”

Hitchon’s appearance at London’s Olympic Stadium will revive golden memories of 2012 when she claimed a place in the final and finished in 10th.

“That was an incredible Olympics and I’m sure the atmosphere will be just as special with a full stadium again for the World Championships,” she added.

“It is always special when you perform in front of a home crowd and the atmosphere it generates spurs you on even more.”

Hitchon first broke the British Hammer record in 2011 and has smashed it every year since, apart from 2014.

“I remember that year, leading up to the World Championships in China, hadn’t gone particularly well. It was really difficult to get back into training that winter,” she recalled.

“I had quite a few doubts and I went through a difficult few months.”

Hitchon made small, subtle improvements to her technique and over time, with the guiding light of her Swedish coach, Tore Gustafsson, her confidence grew.

“He is the main reason for my success because he is so incredibly positive,” the Burnley-born ace said.

“I can’t put into words Tore’s qualities.

“Tore looks at everything in such detail, but is always so relaxed.

“He always finds the right words to say.

“Everything always makes sense.

“My coach is the one who was there to get me through those difficult periods in my career, like in 2014.”

The Blackburn Harrier added: “I’ve struggled a little bit in my last few competitions this year but I’m not one to hide when things are not going my way.

“I’ve always been good under the pressure of big competition, so I will give it my best shot in London and see where that takes me.

“If I can perform to the best of my abilities, then that is all I can do.”