By Andy Baber in Birmingham
‘Job done’ was the message from Anna Purchase after the Commonwealth Games debutant overcame a rocky heat to qualify for the women’s hammer final.
The 22-year-old from Nottingham did not meet the automatic qualification mark of 68m but her first effort of 66.45m proved more than enough to put her in the medal showdown.
She ultimately qualified third, following two no-throws with her remaining efforts, with Canadian Camryn Rogers making a statement with a Games record of 74.68 to finish first.
But after watching New Zealand’s Lauren Bruce crash out with three unsuccessful throws, despite having a personal best of 73.47m, Purchase was just relieved just to progress.
“It was a little bit rocky out there, I didn’t quite time my throw but obviously we have the finals on Saturday so if I can figure it out for then, it will be all good,” she said.
“I’m just going to rest up, get fresh legs and give it all I’ve got on Saturday. The home crowd was crazy, I didn’t expect it to be as vibrant, it’s so cool to have them cheering for us.
“It’s all about getting the job done. I’m glad I got that first throw out and then the other two were a bit wobbly. The first throw was good to get out, especially to get the cheer going. We know what we need to do on Saturday so feeling good.”
On Bruce’s three failures, she added: “I think it’s all about what you do on the day, we live and we learn. You hate to see it and you feel the pain for her and we’re all rallying around her.”
Purchase, who majors in media studies at the University of California, took fourth place in the hammer throw at the European U23 Championships last year.
She believes she is capable of another medal at Birmingham 2022, where Wales’ Amber Simpson also qualified for the final, although Purchase conceded she does have tweaks to make.
“I think I could medal,” she said. “I just have to get those few little kinks sorted out and then it’s all down to what happens on the day, who throws the furthest will get the medals.
“I’ll give it my best shot. I just need to keep my awareness of where my throw is. When it moves fast and when it’s a huge crowd, a load of noise, I tend to lose track of where I am in the throw.
“As long as I can stay with ball then I’ll be fine. I have got used to the atmosphere very quickly, it was tense walking out, I didn’t know how to react as this is my first big major championships.
“I did get comfortable pretty quick but on my third throw they were very loud and I was like, ‘oh gosh I have to focus on what I’m doing’. It’s super cool, it’s awesome.”
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