Hodgkinson wins 800m silver medal for GB & NI

Keely H Podium 2022

Keely Hodgkinson  claimed silver in a dramatic women’s 800m final to follow up a full set of GB middle distance medals after Laura Muir’s 1500 Bronze and Jake Wightman’s glorious Gold in the men’s 1500m earlier in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

As much anticipated, Olympic silver medallist Hodgkinson and gold medallist Athing Mu delivered a women’s 800m final for the ages but it was the American who would win again but by a fine margin following a surge from the British record holder in the final 100 metres.

Hodgkinson (handicap -3.1) ran her second fastest time ever, 1:56.38 minutes, for silver, just 0.08 seconds shy of Mu’s world lead performance of 1:56.30.

In arguably one of the most anticipated finals of these World Championships, neither Hodgkinson and American rival Mu looked like they wanted to take the front after the first 100 metres of the women’s 800m final.

Mu, however, would go for home early, surging to the front down the back straight and creating a gap between her and Hodgkinson. The British Olympic silver medallist from Tokyo wouldn’t be put off though and slowly chipped away at the American.

By the time the final bend was complete the pair were neck and neck with Hodgkinson looking for a gap on the inside. She couldn’t quite find it with Mu shutting the door to win in a world lead 1:56.30 ahead of the Brit’s season’s best and second fastest ever 1:56.38.

Hodgkinson said: “I’m satisfied but not overjoyed. I’m a little disappointed that I missed out on gold by 0.08 which is tiny margins that I’ve worked so hard to close but I’ll take the positives.

“I’ve closed the gap, I’m getting closer. I’ve got a lot of respect for these athletes, particularly Athing. She’s competing in front of a home crowd as Olympic champion, so there was a lot of pressure for a 20-year-old. But I’ll take the silver and assess it.

“My goal in my career is to try and medal at every single championships. I’m keeping the ball rolling, so I am happy about that. I tried to take the shortest route. I don’t regret it because I could have wasted a lot of energy by moving out and going around her.

“I just thought I’d try to sneak down the inside. I knew it would come down to the last 50m, so it was just a case of holding form, and seeing what was left. We’ve worked so hard over the winter to close that gap with Athing. It has paid off, I can’t say it hasn’t.”

Aimee Pratt (handicap-1.5) smashed another British record to secure the best ever finish by a Brit in the women’s 3000m steeplechase at a World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

The only Brit in the final, Pratt ran her own race in the 3000m steeplechase but what a race it was as she stormed to seventh, obliterating her own national record by more than three seconds in clocking 9:15.64 while also securing a British best since the event was first introduced into the World Athletics Championships schedule in 2005.

In the women’s 5000m final Eilish McColgan (handicap-4.3) was part of a large leading group, towards the back of it with seven laps to go, before being dropped later. She ended 11th in 15:03.03 minutes. Heading into that final, McColgan had finished tenth four times in her World Championship career, including the 10,000m final in Oregon over a week ago, and she said: “I wish I was tenth this time!

“I found that tough, I really did. We ran slower in overall time than we did in the heat but the heat was far easier than that was. I suppose it was just the injection of pace but I knew that would be the case and I wanted to try something a little bit different anyway.

“I’m proud of myself for the way I covered it, I was probably more involved there than in the 10k, which I thought would be the other way round. I’m a little bit disappointed I didn’t close as well as I would like, but with a 1k to go I was thinking ‘will I make it?’ as opposed to ‘I feel strong’. It is what it is, I’m here, two major finals and my hamstring is still attached.”

McColgan was joined in the women’s 5000m final by British teammate Jess Judd (handicap-3.4), who tried valiantly to not be put off by the pace set by the front runners in her first World Championship final over the distance.

Judd was 11th herself in the 10,000m in Oregon and would finish 13th in the 5000m in 15:19.88. She said: “I don’t really remember much of it, it just felt so hard. It was slow at the start, then picked up. I probably went a lap too early. The lap times went down to 69 seconds from 78s, so it’s just next level and not something I’m used to.
“I’ve never been in a 5000m world final. It has been an amazing championships for me. I would really have liked a PB in the 5000m but how I ran it was not the way to do it. I think there is more there so maybe I’ll do it at one of the championships to come.

“You always get greedy and want more, but you have to remember where you started. If you had said I would finish 13th in a world final a few years ago, I’d have thought that was great, but it is just one of those where people are ahead and you always want to beat them.”

Next up are the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham starting later this week, where many of the World championship stars will don their home nation vests and look towards podiums once again!