Tag Archives: agility

Warrior unveils Skreamer Pro boot

Skreamer: The new boots from Liverpool's kit makers (but who will dare to wear them)

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UPDATED:

12:32 GMT, 29 November 2012

Who will dare to be the first player to be seen wearing these Liverpool's American kit makers Warrior have finally unleashed their new boots to rival the likes of Nike and adidas this Christmas.

But the Skreamer Pro has a lot to prove before we can start shouting about them – and it appears, on this evidence, only an accomplished star would be able to convincingly pull them off.

Launched in an outrageous colourway fusion of 'Blue Radiance and Bright Marigold', the boots are set to make their debut in the Barclays Premier League in December.

Skreamer: Warrior's debut boots are set to be worn in the Premier League in December

Skreamer: Warrior's debut boots are set to be worn in the Premier League in December

Warrior have promised to reveal a number of exciting signings as they look to grow their collection over the course of the next year.

Former Wimbledon legend and now Hollywood actor Vinnie Jones signed up as an ambassador for the brand earlier the summer, along with Cardiff striker Craig Bellamy.

Jones said: 'I only want to partner with a brand that has a set of balls. Like me, Warrior believes winning is everything. The football world needs a shake up and I’m lucky to be affiliated with a brand that has the guts to do it.'

Lock, stock and two smoking barrels: Vinnie Jones is a global ambassador for the American sports firm

Lock, stock and two smoking barrels: Vinnie Jones is a global ambassador for the American sports firm

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was seen wearing a pair earlier this season in the build-up to the Reds' Europa League win over Young Boys in Switzerland.

His Anfield backroom staff are also set to endorse them having been reportedly forced to stick with the club's previous suppliers, adidas, at the start of the season because the American sports firm did not have a production line ready in time.

A Warrior spokesperson told Sportsmail that the Skreamer is 'anatomically engineered on the pillars of power and lightweight agility, along with its revolutionary design, making it swift and deadly on any surface'.

The boot features a multitude of breakthrough technologies 'completely new to the football world'.

Model behaviour: Brendan Rodgers previewed a pair of the Warrior boots earlier this season ahead of Liverpool's Europa League clash against Young Boys

Model behaviour: Brendan Rodgers previewed a pair of the Warrior boots earlier this season ahead of Liverpool's Europa League clash against Young Boys

A statement on the boot read: 'Designed to amplify raw playing power, the Skreamer Pro’s sleek one piece S-Lite microfibre upper is enhanced with micro injection moulding and rebound technology. An Arrowhead Forefoot Vamp gives players a dominant edge, delivering killer power and ball control.'

Global head of Warrior Football, Richard Wright believes the Skreamer Pro is a game-changing boot.

'Our product development team is led by of some of Europe’s finest – industry game changers who are constantly finding new ways to design and engineer products that excite and empower each and every footballer,' said Wright.

'We’re extremely proud to step foot into the boot market with the Skreamer Pro – it’s a silent assassin; the ultimate balance of acute strength and sharp speed.'

The boots – which are priced at 124.99 and will be worn in the top-flight for the first time this weekend – will also be available in a less startling Black and Spicy Orange design.

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David de Gea should be proud of Manchester United status, says Peter Schmeichel

From zero to hero! Schmeichel hails De Gea's spirit after turning United career around

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UPDATED:

17:01 GMT, 26 November 2012

Peter Schmeichel believes David de Gea should be proud of the way he silenced his credits after recovering from his nightmare start at Manchester United.

After a three-match absence triggered by the removal of his wisdom teeth, the Spanish goalkeeper is hoping for a recall when United look to consolidate their place at the top of the Barclays Premier League by beating West Ham at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

And, with the exception of Anders Lindegaard, there would be few complaints.

Head for heights: David de Gea has been much improved this season

Head for heights: David de Gea has been much improved this season

For although reservations still exist over De Gea’s ability to command his penalty area, the 22-year-old’s agility is beyond question.

And Schmeichel believes, just to reach this point, De Gea has shown an impressive mental strength.

'I admire David,' the legendary Dane said. 'I cannot remember anyone coming into Manchester United and being criticised the way he was.

'He was ridiculed every day. He was the subject of every debate in the media. Yet he still went out there with a smile on his face and managed to dig himself out of it.

'Very slowly he is working his way away from what people thought of him 18 months ago.

'You haven’t seen him defend himself in the media or shifting the blame elsewhere. He just gets on with it.

'He is young. At 22 he has things to learn but, mentally, there is definitely material there.'

Schmeichel knows he is the man all United goalkeepers are judged by.

De Gea has neither the personality nor, more importantly, the physical presence, to emulate the former Old Trafford hero.

Yet the man who captained United to their 1999 Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich in his last game for the club insists it no longer matters.

Legend: Peter Schmeichel is the goalkeeper all others are measured against

Legend: Peter Schmeichel is the goalkeeper all others are measured against

'I was a different goalkeeper to David,' he said. 'I wouldn’t mind fighting for the ball in the air. But that is not what goalkeepers do these days. There is no need for it.

'The accent on football has changed. Striking the ball has changed. David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo started that. They have shown a way to strike a ball differently, so that means the quality of what comes into the box is different, which makes goalkeeping more difficult.

'If you look at the world’s top young keepers, I would say (Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper) Manuel Neuer is the only one who actually comes for the ball. Generally, that is not the way it is.'

Instead, they have become auxiliary sweepers, which is another area where De Gea excels.

'You only have to go 25 years back and a goalkeeper would boot the ball into the corner, the striker would chase it and get a cross in as quickly as possible,' Schmeichel said.

'That is not the way we play any more. Spain are double European champions and World Cup winners. Their way is the most effective way.

'These days passes are being made just two or three yards out of goal and they are being made to people who are being marked. That was an absolute no-no when I played.

'The guys now are so good with their feet. It is about keeping the ball and that is why goalkeepers are so important.'

Martin Samuel: Premier League"s greedy owners the only winners

Greedy owners the only winners if you curb these players' wages

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UPDATED:

23:30 GMT, 18 November 2012

Nobody has ever bought a ticket to watch a bloke in a suit balance the books. Not that it wouldn’t be interesting.

Whoever managed to juggle Chelsea’s numbers so they bought the best part of a new team and still turned a 1.4million profit over the last financial year On paper, that must have been one hell of a show.

Same with the Arsenal board meeting in which chief executive Ivan Gazidis explained why he was worth a 24 per cent pay rise for selling Arsene Wenger’s captain at the end of every season. Now there is a world-class performer at the top of his game.

They're not here for you, Arsene: Ivan Gazidis and his equivalents across the land bring in the big bucks

They're not here for you, Arsene: Ivan Gazidis and his equivalents across the land bring in the big bucks

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Sadly, the fans don’t agree. Players. That’s what they like. How quaintly retro of them. They don’t get that football’s modern world is all about leveraging the brand and maximising revenue streams, economic reality and financial fair play.

A paying fan wouldn’t have written the newspaper headline that described Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy as a genius at the weekend. Gareth Bale against Inter Milan two seasons ago. That was genius.

So when the Premier League chairmen sat down last week to consider next season’s 5billion television windfall, they wanted to prioritise the people who really deserved it.

Them.

Not players. Good lord, not sweaty old players. Having built the self-styled greatest league in the world on the talent of men such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, the owners have decided enough is enough.

They fear players will recognise some correlation between increased TV revenue and the stars the people are tuning in to watch. How presumptuous.

It would be like David Letterman thinking that what made the David Letterman Show special was David Letterman, and asking to be paid accordingly. Get real, Dave. Do you seriously think they’re watching it for you

Chairmen aren’t brave enough to explain this leap in logic to the players’ representatives. So what they will do is hide behind new rules.

We’d like to give you the money, they will say, but we can’t, you see. It’s the law. If it was up to us, well of course. There’s nothing we’d enjoy more than sharing our bounty with your client. But our hands are tied. We can’t even invest any of our own money these days. It’s just not allowed. Damn these rules. Damn these silly, silly rules. I don’t know why we voted for them.

Worth a pay rise Player of the year candidates Robin van Persie and Juan Mata wont get a cut of TV cash

Worth a pay rise Player of the year candidates Robin van Persie and Juan Mata wont get a cut of TV cash

Worth a pay rise Player of the year candidates Robin van Persie and Juan Mata won’t get a cut of TV cash

So who reaps the dividend Not you, that’s for certain. To date, there is no record of an owner saying he will use the double whammy of proposed spending restrictions and hugely increased revenue to suppress admission charges, cut prices in the club shop or end the tyranny of the new strip released every year. You still pay. They now don’t.

There are some very clever operators behind this, and a fair few dopes, too. The shrewd cookies are the elite clubs who have worked out that, far from benefiting all grades of the game, those at the top stand to profit greatly if spending is linked to income.

An existing club in the Champions League will have at least 30m more than a rival whose ambition it is to enter the top four.

It is no surprise that Manchester United and Arsenal are driving this proposal: the biggest grounds, the most consistent Champions League performers, they are as good as enshrining their right to have the most to spend.

The dopes would include those supporting the rule change at, for instance, West Ham or Tottenham. Why are clubs that are looking to grow limiting the ability to do so

We don’t want another Portsmouth or Leeds United, the mediocre minds insist. But why are the options competitive torpor or going skint Why can’t a club expand with optimism, ambition and calculated risk, without throwing the lot on red

At last week’s Premier League meeting, 16 of 20 clubs asked chief executive Richard Scudamore to press ahead with detailed proposals for financial restrictions. They can’t be trusted to simply show restraint; it has to be placed upon them by force.

Everyone's invited: As TV money tots up, still the stadiums are filled with expensive tickets

Everyone's invited: As TV money tots up, still the stadiums are filled with expensive tickets

'We are looking at financial fair play rules and introducing them for the good of everyone in the Premier League and for the good of the game,’ said Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins, who would obviously know what was best for the Premier League having been part of it for a mighty 18 months.

The real brains trust proposal comes from Sunderland owner Ellis Short, who wishes to limit annual increases to the wage bill, as a means of depressing salaries. So each club would only be able to increase wages by, say, five per cent each season.

Fine for Manchester United as five per cent of quite a lot is quite a lot more. And fine if you’ve already been throwing money up the wall like Chelsea, as you could continue to do so incrementally.

Yet what of the well-run club that had lived within their means, suddenly experienced a degree of success, and wanted to take a leap forward

Suppose West Bromwich Albion got into Europe and wished to invest in a bigger squad. They would be pegged at growth of five per cent. All Short is proposing is a way of saying ‘no’ to agents without getting into a heated argument.

The alternative is to grow a pair and pay only what you can afford, while respecting the right of all clubs to embrace ascent to the next level.

Resisting all this nonsense, bless them, are Fulham, Everton, West Brom and Manchester City, although Randy Lerner of Aston Villa has serious reservations, too, as do Chelsea, unless they can tailor the proposal to a way that leaves them unaffected.

Reaping rewards: West Brom's break-even model is perhaps the Premier League's most sensible

Reaping rewards: West Brom's break-even model is perhaps the Premier League's most sensible

City and Fulham rely on rich benefactors, while limits on owner investment would make Everton considerably less attractive to potential buyers. West Brom have a break-even model, and a damn good one, but chairman Jeremy Peace simply believes each club should run their business as they see fit. Like grown-ups.

‘It is not trying to restrict teams competing for players,’ said Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. No, it’s just trying to guarantee that, when they do, they’ve got less money than you.

‘We are trying to impose some parameters, so we don’t end up with a lot of clubs making annual and regular losses,’ added the man from the club who are 359.7m in debt, and based in the Cayman Islands.

So if fans aren’t due a rebate and the players don’t deserve a rise, who does

Step forward: Gazidis, Roman Abramovich, the Glazer family, Mike Ashley.

It’s Super Sunday, folks, live from the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers. That’s entertainment.

Overcrowding in the old Globe

Louis Burton, a French sailor competing in the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world yacht race, collided with a trawler 460 miles off the coast of Lisbon.

His accident came a day after compatriot Kito de Pavant was forced to retire after a trawler damaged his boat 80 miles from the Portuguese port of Cascais.

The Vendee Globe is a uniquely challenging event that makes incredible physical and mental demands of its competitors. Even so, not exactly Piccadilly Circus out there, is it

Purple pain

Memo to Stuart Lancaster and all at the RFU: if we can’t play like England’s rugby team, at least try to look like England’s rugby team.

AND WHILE WE'RE AT ITIt's the winning just by taking part

One of the important things in life is to know when you’ve won. The day AFC Wimbledon entered the Football League, having progressed through the pyramid system from their beginnings in the Combined Counties League, they won.

They overcame the idiocy of the Football Association commission that had branded their phoenix club not in the wider interests of football.

More importantly, they exposed the great lie at the heart of Peter Winkelman’s theft of the original Wimbledon. They proved that Milton Keynes could, after all, have earned its League club the legitimate way, with promotion through the many tiers of English football.

The right way: After Peter Winkelman stole their club, AFC Wimbledon rose from the ashes

The right way: After Peter Winkelman stole their club, AFC Wimbledon rose from the ashes

The right way: After Peter Winkelman stole their club, AFC Wimbledon rose from the ashes

Peter Winkelman

Winkelman did not have to steal Wimbledon and spirit it north as Milton Keynes Dons. With investment in Milton Keynes City of the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division, he could have grown his hometown club organically. He could have tried it the proper way, as AFC Wimbledon did.

And Wimbledon are still winning. When they play Milton Keynes Dons, as equals, in the FA Cup second round on December 2, that will be a small victory, too. As is the fact that every neutral fan in the country wants them to overturn big odds and win.

A decade ago, interest was scarce but now everyone seems to know the story of English football’s greatest injustice.

Wimbledon directors are not going into the boardroom at stadiummk, supporters have discussed taking food and printing an independent match programme to avoid giving the club they call Franchise FC money. Others will boycott the tie entirely.

All fine acts of protest. Wimbledon remain unshakeably atop the moral high ground. But they should know when they’ve won. Goodwill is easily surrendered if justified grievance becomes spiteful venom. Foul chants and abuse, collateral damage.

What the FA allowed to happen to their club should never be forgotten; but there are some good people at MK Dons now, too.

Dan Micciche, who runs the academy, is one of the most imaginative youth coaches in the country, and anyone below a certain age in the crowd will simply have grown up supporting the local team, not comprehending their horrible history. They were simply too young to appreciate the controversy surrounding Winkelman’s creation.

What is it boxing referees require A good, clean fight That is what the supporters of AFC Wimbledon must provide next month. Keep it dignified, keep it civilised.

They have considerably more to lose than a Cup tie, if they forget that this was their victory long ago, regardless of the result of a single match.

Not losing may not be enough for Rio, Roy

And very quietly, as we entered the winter hiatus, Montenegro took a two-point lead at the top of World Cup qualification Group H, as expected, by beating San Marino.

England are second on eight points. If Poland win their game in hand, they will have eight points, too.

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Exposed: England are in a fight to secure a place at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014

Put like that, trailing Montenegro, having won two games in four and even then only against San Marino and Moldova, doesn’t seem so hot.

Roy Hodgson is still unbeaten in competitive matches but this was always going to be his problem. Being good at not losing only gets a team and a manager so far and cannot be mistaken for winning.

England have gone out of World Cups unbeaten previously; technically, Hodgson was unbeaten at the 2012 European Championship, too.

Nobody is allowed to utter the name Harry Redknapp, because football’s confederation of bogus clever dicks are still pretending that England and Tottenham Hotspur are better off without him (and didn’t they look it on Saturday, when Emmanuel Adebayor got sent off and Andre Villas-Boas looked at his little book of brilliant tactical plans for 20 minutes as Arsenal scored three goals).

But the fact is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hat-trick was the least of England’s problems last week.

Second place could bring a play-off against the likes of Israel, Norway or Bulgaria but equally Portugal, Sweden, France or Belgium.

Meanwhile, the troublesome visit to Montenegrin capital Podgorica is two competitive games away. England improve under Hodgson in the second half of this season or their World Cup campaign ails, perhaps fatally.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic"s mental agility was the real skill – Martin Samuel

Mental agility was the real skill as Ibrahimovic stunned England with that fourth goal

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UPDATED:

22:55 GMT, 15 November 2012

It isn’t the kick. It’s the thought that precedes it. That is what makes Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s incredible fourth goal against England a thing of beauty.

Anyone can make the shot. Well, not anyone, obviously. There are several billion people who would end up in traction if they even thought about it too hard, but for a professional footballer, certainly one of elite standard, the most fantastically ambitious manoeuvres do occasionally come off.

Trevor Sinclair scored a goal for QPR against Barnsley in the FA Cup in 1997 that he can probably still dine out on today. Think Nayim from the halfway line. It happens.

Beauty: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores his fourth goal against England

Beauty: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores his fourth goal against England

So a player with Ibrahimovic’s breathtaking technical range — and there is probably no better striker of a ball on the volley — can be blessed with the perfect moment in which execution, instinct, timing and a helpful pinch of luck combine to produce something quite stunning.

What sets Ibrahimovic’s goal apart, however, is the intelligence that inspires it. His athleticism, his balance, his control, his skill, all would be meaningless if he had not worked out that England goalkeeper Joe Hart was about to make a big mistake. The assist is in Ibrahimovic’s mind.

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Pure delight: Ibrahimovic led Sweden to victory over England

Slowed down, the shot looks more precise than it could have been. We have seen similar attempts before. It could have gone in, it could have missed by inches, it could have come to rest on the roof, Ibrahimovic no more knew the outcome in that split second than you or I.

He waits until the ball is in the net before he starts celebrating because he has no clue where it will land when it leaves his foot (although his outstanding technique gives him a superior chance of pulling it off).

Good fortune plays no part in the build-up, however. That is about one man, in a split second, assessing a situation quicker than any player around him. It is, for that reason and quite a few more, a simply brilliant goal: spectacular in thought as much as in action.

Andy Carroll"s header didn"t cross the line – Graham Poll

Carroll didn't score but incident underlines loss of trust in officials

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 6 May 2012

Andy Carroll’s 82nd-minute header did not cross the goalline as Petr Cech pulled off a fantastic point-blank save.

Chelsea should have been celebrating Cech’s agility but instead had to watch as Liverpool’s attackers tried to pressurise the match officials into awarding a goal.

Goal Andy Carroll's late effort was not awarded while replays proved inconclusive

Goal Andy Carroll's late effort was not awarded while replays proved inconclusive

Goal Andy Carroll's late effort was not awarded while replays proved inconclusive

Assistant referee Andy Garratt was correct to stand firm in the face of disrespectful pressure, mainly from Luis Suarez. However, the accuracy of the decision is no longer the issue; the loss of trust in the officials is.

There have been too many high profile goalline errors this season. The result is a lack of trust in the ability of human arbiters to judge them accurately.

Goalline technology cannot now be introduced quickly enough for all involved — it’s a question of credibility not accuracy.

Not on: Luis Suarez was booked for his protest after Carroll's 'goal'

Not on: Luis Suarez was booked for his protest after Carroll's 'goal'

What Carroll said…

I thought it was over the line and it hit the other side of the bar

What Cech said…

If the ball was behind the line I couldn’t have kept it out. I’m 100 per cent sure it was not in.

What the law says…

A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar.

LONDON OLYMPICS 2012: Hammer glamour: Former ballerina Hitchon is giving her sport a new image

Hammer glamour: Former ballerina Hitchon is giving her sport a new image

When hammer thrower Sophie Hitchon steps into the circle in front of 80,000 people at the Olympic Stadium this summer and hurls a four kilogram metal ball through the air, a childhood spent ballet dancing will be paying dividends in the most unlikely of environments.

'On the face of it, being a ballerina and a hammer thrower couldn't be further removed from each other,' said Hitchon, who at 20 has thrown the hammer further than any British woman in history.

Olympic hope: Sophie Hitchon will swing the hammer for Britain

Olympic hope: Sophie Hitchon will swing the hammer for Britain

'But ballet has really helped me get to where I am with the hammer now. The stage performances gave me a lot of confidence in front of an audience and I'm sure that helps me not to be daunted by competing in the hammer with big crowds watching.

'Although the technique is not the same, the co-ordination is, and it helps stability and agility. 'Ballet also taught me discipline because you've got to have your hair right and all your uniform on or you're booted out of class to sort yourself out.'

Hitchon began ballet when she was two. For 13 years, alongside turning out as a sprinter, she worked her way through the grades, punctuated by showcase performances at the Mechanics Theatre in her home town of Burnley.

Ballet was encouraged by her mother, Wendy, who signed her up for lessons at nursery school. But four years ago, Hitchon stumbled on hammer throwing by accident.

'Pendle Athletics Club was my first team and in league competitions you get points at each event,' said Hitchon.

'I was a pretty useful 100m and 200m runner and I did the shotput.

'But we never had anyone to throw the hammer and the team needed points, so I said OK, I'll have a go. I had a few practice sessions before my first competition, where I threw 28 metres. It didn't start great.'

Gold standard: Hitchon grabbed gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Canada in 2010

Gold standard: Hitchon grabbed gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Canada in 2010

Those modest beginnings have grown into distances not only exciting for Hitchon, but for the future of British throwing and field events in general.

Tessa Sanderson was the last thrower to win an Olympic medal, the Los Angeles gold in 1984, but in common with pole vault hopeful Holly Bleasdale, Britain could soon be looking beyond the track.

In her first year, Hitchon broke the British under- 17 record. Over the next two seasons she smashed 14 junior and under-23 marks.

Last year she broke the British senior record twice, most recently with a throw of 69.59m at the European under-23 Championships in the Czech Republic.

She was breaking records at such a rate that pausing to take stock of her achievements was the biggest challenge.

'It was happening so quickly that I didn't have time to realise what was going on,' said Hitchon.

'Everything was getting better and better, like a snowball effect. I forget how many records I was breaking at the time.'

Hitchon was granted Lottery funding in 2010 on the back of this success, which enabled her to move to Loughborough, where she is coached at the University's sports campus by Derek Evely, the centre director.

She trains alongside elite athletes from a range of disciplines. In the gym there are solid men with sturdy legs and powerful upper bodies – the shot-putters – while the lean and long-limbed women are high jumpers.

Perched on a landing mat, Hitchon's event is harder to pin down.

Her 5ft 9in frame is not an obvious clue and nothing else about her says hammer thrower in the traditional sense.

She is athletic and her shoulders are strong. But she is also narrow at the waist, not carrying the weight around the middle of the successful hammer throwers of the past.

'When I tell people I do hammer,' said Hitchon, 'they say: “But you're not massive or tall. You look normal”. 'Hammer has that reputation. Five years ago that was the case, but now there are quite a few women who are more slender and more in shape, so it's hopefully changing the stereotype.'

What she lacks in bulk, she makes up for in pace and finesse.

Leading the way: Tessa Sanderson was the last British thrower to win a medal

Leading the way: Tessa Sanderson was the last British thrower to win a medal

'Because I'm not the biggest, and I'm not very strong compared with the others, I rely on speed and technique,' said Hitchon, who can still lift 80kg, 3kg more than her own bodyweight.

'Technically, we've still a lot to work on. You learn what works. It's down to personal preference and what feels good. For me, it's a guessing game because I'm so young.'

At the World Championships in Daegu last summer, her first international senior competition, Hitchon came 26th.

'I'd never been to a major championships, where you're competing against the world record holder and past champions,' said Hitchon.

'I was in the athletes' village and Usain Bolt walked past. You pinch yourself and say, am I meant to be here I loved it, but I felt a bit out of my depth. In London I know I deserve to be there.'

To qualify with the Olympic B standard, Hitchon needs to throw over 69m twice. But she is not interested in that.

'I want the A standard, 71.50m. I want to know I've qualified firmly and I'm going because I believe I can make the hammer final and who knows what else. I want my name on that team-sheet in thick black marker pen.'

There is one thing Hitchon will miss from her ballet days.

'The glamour. The performances were so much fun. Backstage you got to put loads of make-up on, wacky eye shadows and loads of mascara. I don't get to do that any more.'