Rio 2016Olympic & Paralympic Games

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16 Aug 2016

Hitchon makes history as first Brit to win an Olympic hammer medal

Sophie Hitchon broke her own British record to become the first British woman to win an Olympic hammer medal.

Saving her best until last as she so often does, Loughborough University based Hitchon produced a stunning 74.54m throw to move from fifth to third, and secure a sublime bronze medal.

Putting herself in third place with a second round 73.29m, Hitchon then watched Anita Wlodarczyk smash the world record with a throw of 82.29m, to unsurprisingly win Olympic gold. Heading into the final round Hitchon had slipped to fifth behind Betty Heidler and Zalina Marghieva, but like we’ve seen time and time again she stepped up to the plate when it mattered most, to produce that 74.54m throw, almost a metre better than she’s ever thrown before to win bronze.

“I was just thinking [going into last throw] to keep my mind quiet and execute my technique; in training I’ve done it again and again and again but to do it in competition is completely different. I just had to keep my mind quiet and focussed on my technique. It paid off.

“I knew I hadn’t done enough on the second round – I knew the girls could throw further than that. They’re all consistent as well and I never would rest on a throw and I always want to push for more.

“Anita is amazing - I’ve been throwing against her for a few years now, but coming fourth last year in Beijing at the Worlds and fourth in Amsterdam, well she’s always winning, but hopefully in a few years we can be clutching at her heels a little bit.”      

In the women’s 3000m steeplechase final, Loughborough University sports science graduate Sara Treacy toed the line for Ireland, having been reinstated after being tripped in her heat when in a great position. Racing in the midday heat, Ruth Jebet made the race a fast one, but eased down before the line when she would have broken the world record. That made it very tough for Treacy, who finished 17th in 9.52.70, clearly still tired from her efforts in qualifying. She will be extremely proud to have made the final in her first Olympics.

Team GB were back in action at the hockey stadium, with five Loughborough alumna part of the team trying to win a semi-final place. Within eight minutes one of them had made their mark, Giselle Ansley providing the assist as Great Britain took the lead.

Ansley nearly got on the score sheet herself as the team extended their lead to three, whilst in goal Maddie Hinch made a couple of great stops to keep the Spanish at bay on her 100th international appearance.

At the start of the fourth and final period another alumna Laura Unsworth had the crowd on their feet with some outstanding defensive work, swiftly followed by a skilful break out of defence, but despite GB being in a strong position there were some nervy moments. With seven minutes remaining the Spanish got themselves on the board but Great Britain’s defence held firm and their place in the semi-final was confirmed on full time.

Ansley, Hinch and Unsworth, alongside Hannah MacLeod and Nicola White will now take on New Zealand at 9pm BST on Wednesday, with the side knowing a win will guarantee them a medal.

Angela Hannah and her partner Lani Belcher were in action in the women’s K2 Canoe Sprint, looking for a good semi-final result to try and secure a spot in the final. Despite a great start, the Team GB duo faded in the latter stages to end up seventh in 1.49.28, which was good for a place in the B Final.

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Pete Matthews
PR Officer (Sport)
Loughborough University