Rio Olympics pain fuelling Sophie McKinna in bid to qualify for London 2017 World Athletics Championships
- Credit: PA
Missing out on the Olympics may have proved painful for Sophie McKinna – but the Norfolk shot putter is setting her sights high for 2017.
The Great Yarmouth and District Athletics Club star is now focusing her attentions on the World Championships in London next August.
'This year coming up is the World Championships in London,' McKinna said. 'I'm hoping to qualify for that, and then it's the Commonwealth Games in March 2018, on the Gold Coast of Australia, so they're my next major championships to aim for.'
The 22-year-old will be happy to see the back of 2016 though, admitting: 'I didn't watch any of the Olympics at all. I stayed away from it completely.
'With all the emotions attached, I'd given up all of my time and everything to train to get to something like that, I qualified for it and then got let down by a governing body, so to speak.
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'So it was disappointing and I didn't really watch it, just for my own sanity more than anything.'
McKinna's qualification hopes for Rio became complicated after her throw of 18.41 metres – 1.43 metres further than any of her other throws this year – was not considered credible.
The throw comfortably went over British Athletics' qualifying standard of 17.75m but the event, set up by McKinna's former coach Geoff Capes, did not have the required status and the throw went down as wind-assisted.
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'Obviously this year I threw a personal best and a British (under-23) record and I was really unfortunate not to be selected for Rio,' the former Lynn Grove High School pupil continued. 'My whole year was centred around that so, even though I threw a PB by over a metre, it kind of put a bit of a dampener on the year. So mixed emotions about the year really.'
The controversy led to McKinna setting up an event at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich in July, where a best throw of 17.14m proved not to be enough.
British champion Rachel Wallader was the only woman in the country to throw further than McKinna this year but her 17.53m was also not enough to go to the Olympics. Now McKinna is pressing on with upping her game, to prevent further upset.
'I've changed my gym, I'm now at Top Body Gym in Gorleston, so that's given me some great new facilities and is bringing on my training leaps and bounds,' she continued. 'I'm loads stronger than I ever have been so hopefully that will transfer into my throwing as I start tapering down and getting faster and more technically efficient.'
McKinna was shortlisted for Female Sportsperson of the Year at the recent Norfolk Sports Awards but was pipped by fellow Yarmouth girl Jessica-Jane Applegate.
She already has her mind on 2017 though, adding: 'I had two weeks off and started training in August, so I've been training for a long time already and we're targeting my first event for either the end of December or mid-January, depending on how training is going.'