Keely Hodgkinson ‘can’t put into words’ sealing Olympic place with 800m win

Rising star Keely Hodgkinson insists she will relish the spotlight after upsetting Laura Muir to book her place at the Olympics.

The 19-year-old defended her 800m British title in stunning style to add to the European Indoor gold she won in March.

Hodgkinson clocked one minute 59.61 seconds after overhauling Muir and Jemma Reekie in the final 70 metres at the British Athletics Championships in Manchester on Sunday.

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“I love being in this championship environment and feel I can perform under pressure,” said the Wigan-born athlete.

“The pressure wasn’t on me; I was a little bit of an underdog but I enjoy being in the championship environment, it’s something I thrive off, even being 19. I’m excited putting myself up against the world’s best.

“I really did believe I could do it. It was a case of executing and not panicking, especially against Laura and Jemma who are very, very good athletes.

“It’s something I can’t put into words. To come away with the win wasn’t just a confidence-booster but a testament to how hard I’ve worked. I’m really glad I’ve been able to secure my place.

“I’d definitely like to emulate Kelly (Holmes, 2004 Olympic 800m and 1500m champion) but I was only two when she ran that race so I don’t really remember it.

“One of my favourites is Michael Jordan, I watched the documentary on Netflix and I just thought he had the mentality that he wants it so he’s going to go and get it. I like that.”

Muir, the 1500m European champion, finished in two minutes 0.24 seconds and is likely to be handed a discretionary spot for the 800m, with Team GB’s athletics squad named on Tuesday, after failing to make the top two.

She said: “I didn’t really run a very good race. It was a little bit messy run. You can’t afford to do that with this calibre of competition but still to come third is a good performance.

“To be going to another Olympics, hopefully in two events, is quite hard.

“Looking at the times and the rakings, I think I am capable of making that (800m Olympic) final. If we can have three Brits in the final that would be fantastic.”

Training partner Reekie was second in two minutes 0.12 seconds to seal her spot for the Tokyo Games, which start next month.

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“The British girls are doing so well and you can’t take anyone for granted. Everyone on that start line deserved to qualify for the Olympics,” she said.

“It was just getting the job done. It’s amazing. I’m sure it’s gonna hit me be a bit later as well. It is something I’ve always dreamed of.”

Jazmin Sawyers took long jump victory with a leap of 6.75m ahead of Abigail Irozuru and Lorraine Ugen.

Sawyers said: “I am so happy. The whole point of British Championships this year was to get in top two and make sure you on the plane. You know you have the standard but you can’t guarantee anything until you have done that.

“It is nice to keep the title from last year and know I am off to the Olympics. That sounds so good”

Elliot Giles narrowly won the men’s 800m title, Tom Bosworth claimed the 5,000m race walk title, while Sophie McKinna earned the shot put crown.