Norfolk’s Sophie McKinna smashes PB to qualify for shot put final

Great Britain's Sophie McKinna in action during the women's shot put in Doha Picture: PA

Great Britain's Sophie McKinna in action during the women's shot put in Doha Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Norfolk's Sophie McKinna smashed her personal best to reach the final of the shot put competition at the world championships in Doha.

The 25-year-old, from Great Yarmouth, will go for gold on Thursday evening after throwing 18.61m to finish qualifying in sixth position.

She was 71cms behind leader and Commonwealth champion Danniel Thomas-Dodd, from Jamaica, and just 35cms behind third-placed Lijiao Gong, of China.

McKinna couldn't contain her delight.

"I'm never speechless, but I am speechless now," said the Great Yarmouth & District AC thrower, whose previous best was 18.23m.

"It is also an Olympic qualifier so, yes, I'm over the moon.

"As a thrower, you generally know when you let go of it that it is going to be a good throw. I let go of it and I turned round to my trainer and was shocked. Training has been going really well but I didn't expect that.

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"To get into a final and perform to the best of my ability at a World Championships in October, it means the world and to qualify for the Olympics, or 50pc there obviously with trials next year, that is all I have ever wanted. "

McKinna is the first British shot putter to reach the final in 36 years, and had plenty of encouragement from a clutch of fans in the stands.

"I have got quite a few supporters in the stadium, which is lovely," she said. "It makes it feels like a home championships with all the British flags. It is great and it really makes you want to come out here and perform and they have travelled a long way to see some good performances so hopefully they are pretty pleased with that.

"I guess we come back tomorrow and try and do it again, maybe a little bit better."