SOPHIE Hitchon claimed a brilliant bronze medal in the final of the women's hammer at the Rio Olympics.

The Burnley ace saved her best until last with a stunning 74.54m in the final round to shatter her personal best, break her own British record and secure a spot on the podium.

It had looked like Hitchon, fourth in the World Championship final, would again fall just short of the medals.

The Blackburn Harrier, who threw 73.29m to climb into third place at the halfway stage only to be overhauled by Moldova's Zalina Marghieva and Germany's Betty Heidler.

That left her fifth heading into the final round but Hitchon, who only qualified for the final in 11th place, responded in fantastic fashion to secure Britain's first ever women's hammer Olympic medal.

Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk broke the world record to win gold with China's Wenxiu Zhang claiming silver.

Hitchon was unsurprisingly deighted with her effort.

"Training has been going really really well," she said. "To get a bronze medal, I am over the moon.

"The girls are all throwing really well. They can always produce their best in the last round. I didn’t expect that I would hold third, I just wanted to throw further.

"I had to double take a little bit! It was just incredible to see the number three there and an national record, I couldn’t be happier."

Hitchon also praised her coach Tore Gustafsson who celebrated the bronze almost as much as the 25-year-old.

"He’s the best coach ever," said Hitchon.

"I could never do this without him. He’s stuck by me through times when I was ready to not do it anymore. 

"We both knew that I had it in me. For him to be there, I’m glad I can do it for him as well as me at this point."