Norfolk’s shot put star Sophie McKinna hungry for more success after making senior Great Britain bow

Sophie McKinna, front row, third from left, salutes the home crowd at the weekend.

Sophie McKinna, front row, third from left, salutes the home crowd at the weekend. - Credit: Archant

Shot-put sensation Sophie McKinna admits making her senior Great Britain debut has whet her appetite for future success.

The 18-year-old, from Bradwell near Great Yarmouth, rubbed shoulders with Olympic gold medallists Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford at the European Team Championships in Gateshead at the weekend.

After dominating the sport's junior ranks the Norfolk athlete finished a more than respectable seventh on her step-up to the big time. And she insists she will only benefit from the lessons she learned on her way to helping GB bag a bronze medal.

McKinna said: 'It was an absolutely amazing experience to be in a team with Olympians and world championship finalists.

'Everyone was really, really supportive and hopefully it's given me something to build on for the future.

'I was a bit more nervous than usual because I wasn't just in it for myself, I wanted to do well for the team. But when I got out in the competition arena I calmed down and managed my nerves – which soon went.

'Now I've had that senior experience I want to have it again. It was absolutely brilliant and I hope I can keep my place in the team. I'd like to keep improving.'

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McKinna threw 16.37m in front of a packed crowd and TV audience to move her way up the standings in the final round.

While it was some way off her personal best 17.12m, the talented teenager believes she can be proud of her efforts.

'I was quite a bit below what I know I can throw,' said the shot putter.

'The weather conditions were the first experience I've had of being taken in and out of the arena. It's something I had to learn to deal with.

'I warmed up, got ready, and it started raining. So I had to go in, and then go back out and get ready and focused again.

'I'd liked to have thrown further than I did but bringing everything into it I'm quite pleased with my result.'

McKinna was cheered on by a raucous home crowd, which she said spurred her on, and her family who made the trip up north to support her.

The teenager's mother Louise said: 'I was so pleased and proud to be there to see Sophie make her senior GB debut. She has made so many sacrifices and throughly deserved her chance.'

Those sentiments were echoed by her husband, and McKinna's father, Andrew. He commented: 'Sophie has worked really hard for this opportunity, and her performance on the day in tough conditions was fantastic. It was a very proud moment for us all.'

Younger sister Abbie added: 'It was amazing to see my sister compete alongside athletes we watched on TV in the Olympics last year. I was so proud of her.'