Sophie McKinna breaks British record to boost Olympic hopes
- Credit: PA
Great Yarmouth youngster Sophie McKinna took a big step to achieving Olympic qualification after setting a new British U23 record in Lincolnshire.
The 21-year-old threw a massive personal best of 18.41 at the Geoff Capes Classic Event to smash the qualifying distance of 17.75m and re-establish herself firmly in the running for Rio 2016.
She must now throw in excess of 17.75m again this season and finish in the top two at the British trials in July to secure her place.
McKinna admitted the length of her throw took her slightly by surprise but believes she is feeling the benefit of working with new coach Mike Winch.
'The change of coach has really helped and training has been going really well,' said McKinna, whose previous personal best was 17.12m, set in 2013. 'The aim was to be throwing 17m by the end of the year.
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'I returning to my old coaching circle which I think really helped because I felt I had a point to prove to a few people. That was just a bit of added motivation as well. I knew it would be make or break for me and I made it.'
McKinna admitted there was a period where she lost her way in the sport in the wake from her split from Geoff Capes in 2014.
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However, she feels firmly back on track under her new coaching team and is pleased to see the progress she has made in her training bearing fruit in the field.
'I've changed coaches and I've been working with a bio mechanic, Joe Cooper. He's has made a massive difference along with my coach,' added McKinna, who started working with Winch last season.
'He has made some technical adjustments and it's been a real turning point in my training.'
McKinna heads to the Norfolk Athletics Championships at the UEA next weekend where she will be looking to catch the eye of the Olympic selectors once again.
'I'm still actually building at the moment,' she said. 'I didn't expect to throw as far as I did. I wanted to throw a new personal best and I did that.
'I've got the county championships next weekend so I will be looking to throw big at that. The events are coming thick and fast now and I really feel I'm back.'