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Hitchon: Olympic qualification just so surreal
12:10pm Monday 25th June 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
BLACKBURN Harrier Sophie Hitchon wrapped herself in the British flag and stood next to a sign that read ‘next stop London’ – and admitted it all felt very surreal.
Burnley’s Hitchon became the first British track and field athlete to guarantee her place on Team GB with a victory in the women’s hammer at the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham.
The 20-year old has already enjoyed a season to remember – breaking 70 metres on three occasions and throwing a 71.61m personal best and British record, which secured the Olympic qualifying standard, in California.
She now heads to the European Championships in Helsinki this week and then all attention will be on the Games.
“I am focusing on the Europeans now before I even start looking towards London, it’s an important major championships and I need the experience of the big events.
“However, great to know that I’m going to the Olympics and we can actually start to plan for it really happening.
“I was told when the competition ended that I was the first person at the trials to qualify for the Games and that did make it that little bit extra special.
Hitchon is determined to learn from the experience of her major championship debut at last year’s Worlds in Daegu, when she was left in tears after failing to progress through the qualifying rounds.
“I hope I will definitely be a different person at London 2012 than I was at the World Champs because I’ve matured a lot as an athlete since then and gained much more experience,” she added.
“I learned a lot just from being there last year and I will learn a lot again at the Europeans next week.
“I will just try and soak up as much experience as I can before London, which, of course, is the one that really matters.
“The goal is to make the final there and if I do that everyone will be more than happy – I need to remember that I’m still new to senior Athletics.
“The crowd support was amazing at the trials and that home advantage is really inspiring – I can only imagine what it’s going to be like at the Games.”
* Aviva has been backing the GB and NI Team since 1999. Now it’s your turn. #BackTheTeam on Twitter or search for ‘Aviva Athletics’ on Facebook.