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Norfolk star McKinna relishing her big break on the world stage

PUBLISHED: 14:42 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 01 October 2019

Sophie McKinna celebrates winning the women's shot put at the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham Picture: PA

Sophie McKinna celebrates winning the women's shot put at the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Great Yarmouth shot putter Sophie McKinna can't wait to compete on the global stage of the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Sophie McKinna in action during the shot put final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia Picture: PASophie McKinna in action during the shot put final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia Picture: PA

The 25-year-old will compete in qualification this afternoon from 2.45pm (UK time), rewarding years of hard work - and will be hoping to be back for the finals tomorrow if qualification goes well.

McKinna flew out to Dubai on September 20 in an effort to acclimatise and arrived in Doha last Friday where she has continued working with coach Mike Winch in an effort to be at her peak at just the right time.

"It took about four days to get used to the heat," admitted McKinna, whose family will be watching her every step back home in Norfolk. Training sessions are more about quality than quantity and you just have to be sensible with what you do."

If McKinna - ranked 16th in the world - is to bring home gold she will have to beat Chinese star Lijiao Gong who, after years of trying, won gold at the 2017 World Championships.

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Gong threw a huge 20.31m in Zurich earlier this year - becoming the only athlete to launch the 4kg metal ball more than 20m in 2019.

However, while McKinna has competed in the Commonwealth Games, the world championships will be the highest-profile event of her career and she has set her targets accordingly.

"It's my first major championships and I'm really looking forward to it," she said. "This is the kind of global stage as athletes that you're always working towards and hopefully it can provide a great stepping stone to the Olympics next year.

"I would love to throw a PB, but that's obviously very difficult to do in a major championships when the pressure is really on.

"I would love to do that and get a place in the final - that's the aim at the moment.

"I'm just looking forward to competing."

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