Great Yarmouth athlete wants to join world elite
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011
Great Yarmouth's Sophie McKinna believes she has learned what it takes to become one of the world's best shot putters after competing against an elite field at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games.
The 18-year-old lined up in a star-studded field at the Olympic Stadium including gold medallist from both London 2012 and Beijing 2008 Valerie Adams as the atmosphere of last summer's storied Games returned.
And, though McKinna, pictured, only threw three times, settling for a best of 16.81m for ninth, she is adamant that the experience – in front of almost 65,000 people – will see her go from strength to strength.
'It was an absolutely fantastic atmosphere, it's the biggest one I've ever had in my career,' said McKinna. 'Basically it just spurs me on to one day be like one of these guys around me.
'It's a little bit surreal at the moment but it's absolutely fantastic to see even the others throwing. I've followed Valerie for many, many years so to even throw against her was a treat in itself.
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'It was absolutely amazing to be part of it and I had the best seat in the house watching out there.
'I've only got two more competitions left in the season but going into next season it will give me motivation to work harder and hopefully I can get my full six throws.'
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McKinna has reached new heights in 2013, increasing her personal best to 17.12m and winning shot put silver at the European Junior Championships.
Her outing at the Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium marked exactly a week since she collected that silver medal in Rieti.
But now McKinna has one eye on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games next year – having already reached the A qualifying standard.
'This year has been the biggest year yet, I've thrown over 17m several times which I never actually thought was possible,' McKinna added.
'I already have one A standard and eight B standards for the Commonwealths which I think is the most anyone holds in the UK at the moment.
'Hopefully I'll be selected for that and it will be an absolutely fantastic experience as well.
'It's been kind of unbelievable and I've grown as an athlete because I've been given experience such as the European Team Championships, such as this and the European Juniors the other week. It can only stand me in good stead for the future.'
n The Sainsbury's Anniversary Games is the final event in the Sainsbury's Summer Series. For more information on Sainsbury's support of world class athletics and disability sport go to www.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/occasions/anniversary-games/