Sophie Hitchon has got off to a cracking start to her Olympic campaign, even pre-season, as she planted the hammer at a big new British record at the UKA Winter Throws Trials at Loughborough.

The world U20 champion, as well as European U23 bronze medallist, registered 70.40m in the range to become the first ever Briton to reach beyond the 70m line and erase her own previous marker of 69.59m, set in Ostrava last July.

That cannot go down as an Olympic B standard (69m), nevertheless, since such marks are considered only from April 1 on but at this rate she ought to put that away with aplomb and even go on to take the high standard (71.50m) into her stride.

Even more so, assuming she must have performed off a heavy winter training regime yet at this stage and nowhere near tapering off.

Sarah Holt also showed in good early trim as she landed a solid 66.38m for second, a mere 8cm off her PB, to show that she could draw in contention for an Olympic place herself for that matter, as her winter build-up has recommended.

Third was former UK No1 Zoe Derham at 65.50m, her best since 2010, for an encouraging setout into the Olympic season and U20 Abi Carter was introduced to the 60m region by way of a straight PB of 60.51m in fourth.

Hitchon hurls the implement out to a big new UK record

There was splendid news coming from the men’s competition as well as Alex Smith smashed his own PB with 75.63m to sweep up three places into fifth in the UK all-time lists, the farthest throw by a Briton since Mick Jones‘s 76.43m back in 2001.

The Sale Harrier showed that his 74.62m last August in Hull was no fluke whatever and bolstered up the reputation of the Smith name in the hammer quarters with two in the top five and three in the top seven rankings in history, bettering the Olympic B standard at that.

Mark Dry enjoyed a good afternoon himself as he followed suit to open up in a PB of 73.36m for second and improve by nearly a metre on his previous figure of 72.49m from last May.

In the women’s javelin, Goldie Sayers landed a sound 62.18m, an Olympic A qualifier, first time out and also had a slightly further second effort unfortunately not measured due to an error by an official for a good early account of herself on the international scene.

Merwyn Luckwell, who beat the Olympic A standard but in a non-UKA designated event last autumn, comfortably notched the men’s competition with a solid 79.70m well ahead of UK champion Lee Doran, second at a best ever opener of 75.40m.

Joe Dunderdale was swift off his mark to inaugurate his U23 apprenticeship in a PB of 73.34m third and Richard Shuttleworth was also initiated into the age group with a reliable 71.32m for fifth.

On the second day, arguable British number one Jade Nicholls ground out a close win over a lively Kirsty Law in the women’s discus as she laid down an opener of 52.52 to her rival’s 52.29m, comfortably a best ever season opening for the latter.

Emma Carpenter inched over the 50m line by 2cm to get third while former Olympian Emeka Udechuku marked a full competitive return to winning ways with 54.79m in the men’s edition as wet conditions hindered performances throughout.

In the women’s shot, Rachael Wallader put out a second PB of 16.07m, this time outdoors, in as many days having crept over 16m for the first ever time indoors (16.01m) at the Lee Valley on Saturday, followed by talented 17-year-old Sophie McKinna at 15.28m (SB) in second spot.

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