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Sophie's strong support

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 03 July 2010

NOT many young aspiring shot putters have a double Commonwealth champion's number on speed dial, but Great Yarmouth's Sophie McKinna is lucky enough to have Geoff Capes as her mentor.

NOT many young aspiring shot putters have a double Commonwealth champion's number on speed dial, but Great Yarmouth's Sophie McKinna is lucky enough to have Geoff Capes as her mentor.

The former World's Strongest Man meets the 14-year-old once a week in Loughborough, and under his guidance the Lynn Grove High School pupil captured the Anglian Schools Championship U17 Girls' title with a throw of 11m 56 last month.

This weekend McKinna heads to Sheffield to compete in Aviva English Track and Field School Championships against the cream of the crop.

McKinna maintains she has really reaped the benefits from being tutored by Capes.

“He is a great coach and it is good to have someone so experienced to learn from,” said McKinna, who set a new personal best of 12.44m last week.

“I travel to Loughborough every weekend to work with Geoff Capes because I am part of a group of about 17 young athletes he coaches.

“I go up there once a week but if I want to go more or if I want so speak to him about something I can just give him a call which is great.”

Competing for both Great Yarmouth DAC and City of Norwich AC, McKinna just missed out on a gold medal at the English Schools last year when she fell short in the final by just 2cm.

But McKinna insists she has learnt her lessons from last year and is determined to go one better at the Don Valley Stadium live on Sky Sports.

She said: “When I went last year I was a bit inexperienced and I didn't really know what to expect. I was a little bit nervous and a little bit younger, but now I have been to plenty of big events and I know how it works and I am not going there to lose.”

Aviva English Schools Track & Field Championships Ambassador, Dame Kelly Holmes, will be attending Visit: www.aviva.co.uk/ athletics

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