Podcast #53: Anna Purchase's journey to her World Championships debut

In the latest England Athletics Podcast, hammer thrower Anna Purchase describes the journey that has led the 23-year-old to her World Athletics Championships debut in Budapest.

Purchase started competing as an Under-11 athlete at Notts Athletic Club, and tells of how she persevered through a number of 4th and 6th places at English Schools Championships, before getting on the podium with silver in 2018. 

"I quickly realised that I wasn't a big fan of running so I wanted to try more of the power events. It wasn't one of those stories of instant success for me. It's been a real journey of determination. It keeps you motivated." says Anna.

Her next breakthrough came following a move to study in the USA, where she has spent the last five years.

"I saw it as an opportunity to travel. That's one of the craziest things," she admits. "I was never one of those kids that was like 'I want to go to the Olympics'. It was 'I do this because I love it'."

Her time in California has seen her form a strong bond with coach Mohamad Saatara and be part of the same training group as world medallists Camryn Rodgers and Mykolas Alekna. During that time, she has improved her personal best to 73.02m to sit second on the UK all-time list behind 2016 Olympic medallist Sophie Hitchon.

Anna also got a taste of the international stage herself by being part of the England team for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

"For my first major championships in front of a home crowd, it was a lot, but it was so awesome. I don't think anything's going to be as daunting as walking into that stadium with everyone shouting your name."

Purchase has also shown strength to overcome the loss of her mother, who passed away when Anna was just 14.

"My mum bought me my first hammer. It was for Christmas, about three months before she died. She always used to take my sister and I to do sports. She spent all of her time making sure that we had the opportunities to do what we wanted. Being a strong, independent, resilient woman, is all that she could have asked for me to be."

In turn, Anna's own passion for hammer throwing is driven by showcasing strong and powerful women, with Instagram and TikTok great creative platforms for doing that.

"A lot of the time, people don't see hammer as a glamorous event. Trying to show the reality of the sport and the event can really help bring awareness."


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