Patient Sophie McKinna hopes British Championships shot-put bronze is only the start

Great Yarmouth's Sophie McKinna is slowly reaping the rewards from her change of coaches, taking bro

Great Yarmouth's Sophie McKinna is slowly reaping the rewards from her change of coaches, taking bronze at this year's British Athletics Championships. - Credit: PA

Sophie McKinna believes her total overhaul in technique will eventually help upgrade her medals – after she took bronze at the British Championships at the weekend.

The 19-year old Great Yarmouth shot putter recently switched coaches, joining double Commonwealth Games silver medallist and established throws expert Mike Winch with the assistance of four-times Olympian Judy Oakes.

And McKinna is confident it will take time for her new approach to make an impact.

Rachel Wallader claimed the national title in Birmingham with a championship record 17.42 metres, while Eden Francis took silver and McKinna completed the podium with a best effort of 15.97m.

'I'm not overly disappointed,' said McKinna, who also collected bronze at this year's British Indoor Championships. 'I'm changing my technique a lot at the moment and that is going to hit the consistency of my throwing. But I threw 16.41m last week, which was a season's best.


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'I changed things around this year because things just weren't really working out with my previous coach.

'Mike is a really good guy who has helped me out a lot but the change in technique is massive.

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'It's just a matter of time before I throw a big distance, but I accept that this year I might have to take a few steps backwards to go forwards.'

McKinna reached the Commonwealth Games final in Glasgow last year, finishing fifth with a performance that announced her graduation from junior to senior ranks. She will now reset her sights on this week's European Under-23 Championships in Tallinn.

She won silver at the junior equivalent two years ago in Rieti, and is hoping for another podium.

'I'd rather get a big throw out at the European Championships on Thursday than here,' she added.

'For some of these guys it's the biggest competition of the year and while it's really important to me too, the European Championships is my target event this summer.

'I didn't really expect to make the team but I caught a couple of throws and got lucky. My aim is the top five and then maybe pushing into the medals, but I'm fit and healthy and confident.'

• Sainsbury's is a proud partner of British Athletics. The partnership reflects Sainsbury's wider commitment to inspiring healthy lifestyles for all, and complements grassroots campaigns such as Active Kids and the Sainsbury's School Games – sainsburys.co.uk

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