The bronze medallist from Rio jersey Olympics finishes seventh behind

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In a stadium at 56,000 capacity Sophie Hitchon looked to be in the loneliest place in the world after failing to win a medal in the hammer. The Authentic Arrelious Benn Womens Jersey 26-year-old crouched beside the advertising hoardings at the far edge of the track, teary-eyed and staring into the distance, contemplating what might have been.
She saved her best throw until last but it was not good enough to re-enact the bronzed glory of the Rio Olympics a year ago. With the British Athletics performance director, Neil Black, targeting a podium tally of six, this was another medal possibility gone. But nobody felt the hurt more keenly than Hitchon herself who sobbed in the bowels of the London stadium afterwards, struggling to articulate her disappointment.
She came into these championships ranked 10th in the world this year, but expectations were high after an assured performance in qualification when she launched the hammer to 73.05m to secure her final berth with one attempt.
Hitchon could not replicate that form in the final, producing a consistent but underwhelming set of throws. The rain started to fall in this part of east London just before the first throw and the 12 women crowded around the cage looked to the skies in horror. It was the worst possible weather conditions for throwers, who do not have the spiked shoes which runners rely on for grip in wet conditions.
But Hitchon, who opened with a foul at the Rio Olympics, smiled and even did a shoulder shimmy after launching the hammer a very respectable 71.47m, which briefly gave her the lead. There were minor improvements with her second and third efforts but not enough to trouble the medal positions and she looked distressed after fouling her fourth throw.
Urged on by her moustachioed American coach Tore Gustafsson in the stands, Hitchon threw 72.32 with her last attempt but held her hand to her mouth knowing it was not enough.
“I’m going to beat myself up for a while after this,” she said, “that’s part of my personality and probably most athletes are the same, but maybe it just comes out in me a little bit more. I think it’s the pressure I put on myself to produce my best and I didn’t do that.
“I think I showed that in qualification that I was in better shape than that. I just couldn’t quite find the rhythm from the beginning but that’s throwing for you. I’m definitely capable of more.”
Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, probably the strongest favourite in any event at these Brent Celek Womens Jersey championships, took a while to find her form but threw 77.90 to secure victory by a massive margin over the silver medallist, Zheng Wang, of China. Wlodarczyk’s compatriot Malwina Kopron clinched bronze.
It might be the biggest British squad to grace a world championships but a series of unfortunate injuries mean they will be hard pushed to achieve the medal target. Britain’s fastest woman, Dina Asher-Smith, will compete in the 200m heats on Tuesday but admitted she feared not making the world championships at all after breaking her right foot in a training accident before the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix in February.
“They told me you can either let it heal naturally and maybe be able to run this year, but it was likely you’d do a few runs in September and get ready for next year,” she said, “or you can have a screw and then you’ve got more of a chance of coming back in time for the world championships. So I just thought ‘let’s go for the screw’. There was no way I could let a home World Championships pass me by.”
Asher-Smith spent six weeks on crutches and a couple of months in an air boot after an operation on her navicular bone. It was not until June that she was able to start sprinting again while wearing spikes but there was at least an upside to the injury. She was able to devote more time to the final year of her history degree at King’s College London and graduated last week with a 2:1.
“I’m pretty weird, as when there is something stressful I just keep going as there’s no point turning round,” she said, “Now I look back, it was probably one of the hardest periods of my young life. Breaking my foot allowed me to concentrate on my uni as I wasn’t really doing too much but at the same time l had my six sessions of rehab. There was a lot on my plate but I made it.”
At London 2012 Asher Smith – then only 16 – acted as a kit carrier. Were she in the form of a year ago the 21-year-old would be hopeful of a medal but she knows making the 200m final would be a relative triumph given her struggles.
“For some people it takes two years to come back from a broken foot so to do it within three to four months and be running safely and not be on the edge is a really big thing,” she said. “I am grateful for all the effort the specialists and coaches have put in to me as it’s been like a military operation behind the scenes.
“If I make the final in London after having that big gap in training I would be over the moon.”


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