• Burnley-born thrower produced spectacular effort in the final round of the competition.
  • Hitchon recorded a new British record of 74.54 metres.

Sophie Hitchon has won the bronze medal in the women's hammer competition in Rio after throwing a new national record of 74.54 metres. The 25-year-old from Burnley produced a stunning throw in the final round to squeeze her way into the medals in the Olympic Stadium.

Hitchon performed consistently close to her best through the competition, but required a lifetime best performance to win the first-ever hammer medal at the Olympics for Great Britain.

Hitchon finished third behind Zhang Wenxiu (76.75 metres) of China and Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk, who produced a world record throw of 82.29 metres to win the gold medal. Wlodarczyk, the heavy pre-competition favourite, began the final by posting an Olympic record throw and then delivered the two longest throws in history to underline her superiority over the field.

Hitchon, for her part, was in the medal places after round one, but knew she needed to produce something special in the final round to enter the record books. The Briton, who failed to medal at London 2012, delivered a new personal best to leapfrog Germany's Betty Heidler to claim bronze.

"Training has been going really really well. To get a bronze medal, I am over the moon," Hitchon told the BBC. "The girls are all throwing really well. They can always produce their best in the last round. I didn't expect that I would hold third, I just wanted to throw further.

"I had to double take a little bit! It was just incredible to see the number three there and an national record, I couldn't be happier."