Great Yarmouth’s Sophie McKinna takes UK shot put title
Young Bradwell athlete Sophie McKinna is the proud owner of a new national record after a superb performance in her first outdoor competition of the season.
The rising star of British shot-putting was in a class of her own, taking the Norfolk AAA Championships Under-20 title in King's Lynn, as well as setting a new under-17 mark of 15.71 metres – her effort had to be remeasured by officials to ensure a place in the record books.
Sophie, 16, almost became the first British girl of her age to throw more than 16m, but an even longer effort was ruled out after she had narrowly stepped out of her area on delivery.
Even so, the East Norfolk Sixth Form student remains at least two metres ahead of anyone else in the UK in her age group – and has much to look forward to as she prepares for a busy season under the guidance of former British star Geoff Capes.
Her next chance to impress comes this weekend when the top British juniors will be competing at Loughborough against the university's students.
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Then there is the exciting prospect of taking on the very best in the World Youth Championships in Lille, France, in July before the Youth Commonwealth Games on the Isle of Man in September.
'I was delighted with how things went at the weekend because it was my first outdoor meeting of the season,' said Sophie. 'I worked very hard over the winter and felt good going into the competition, but you never really know how it will go until you get out there.
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'It's a shame the 16m throw didn't count – that shows the sort of distance I am capable of. But I can't complain. My previous best was 15.14m and my best indoors was 15.70m, so I beat that too.
'Now it's a case of working hard with Geoff over the summer and trying to improve, while remaining injury free. There are some big competitions coming up – but no one can start thinking about them until they get selected so, it's a case of taking one thing at a time.'
Sophie's new under-17 mark took her a little closer to one of the longest standing British senior records. Judy Oakes' 19.36m throw at Gateshead in 1988 remains the distance to beat and will surely come into focus in the years to come if the Bradwell youngster maintains her current progress.