Superb Silver for teenager Keely Hodgkinson at Tokyo Olympics

Keely Hodgkinson at mcr

At the Tokyo Olympics, Keely Hodgkinson (handicap -2.8) broke Kelly Holmes’s 1995 British record and won an Olympic silver medal.

The rest of the 800m field knew all about the danger of Hodgkinson’s guile but couldn’t stop her rising from fifth in the final 120m to second in a stunning 1:55.88, behind only gold medallist Athing Mu (USA).

For an athlete who had originally targeted the European U20 Championships for this season, it was an incredible achievement and marks the British team’s first athletics medal of the Games.

“I’m more amazed about breaking the record than the medal,” said Hodgkinson.

“I’m pretty speechless. Kelly is a massive legend and she always will be. She seems so lovely, she’s sent us a few messages in the past couple of days and has been so supportive.

“She just gave us words of wisdom and she put a lot of belief in me. It’s nice to have someone like her who believes in me, because she’s amazing.

“It’s been a crazy nine months, but I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I’m in shock about the time but couldn’t be happier. I really executed that.”

Mu took the field out to a first lap of 57.9, with Jemma Reekie(handicap-3.2) the most prominent of the three Brits, Hodgkinson taking an inside line and Alex Bell (handicap-2.5) towards the back.

Reekie moved to the front coming into the back straight and Hodgkinson followed her move, with the Scot then taking the inside and the teenager flying past Habitam Alemu (ETH), Natoya Goule (JAM) and her team-mate.

Reekie finished fourth in a superb personal best of 1:56.90 and Bell also produced a 1:57.66 PB in her first major final for seventh position. Team GB couldn’t have asked any more of their first-ever trio of women to reach an Olympic 800m final.

“I definitely wanted a lot better than that,” said Reekie. “I know the time was good, but I’m in better shape than that.

“It’s just frustrating when you don’t perform it on the big stage because I’ve been flying in training.

“It’s frustrating but I’ll learn from it and come back stronger. I was trying to run my own race and trying to make it into those medal places, but it didn’t work out today.”

Bell said: “Tonight I was in such a blur; I was just trying to stay focused on my own race and stay in my own lane.

“After the first 200m I was out the back door and I thought the legs had come off already, so when I crossed the line and I saw the actual time flash up on the board, I was so surprised.

“It was amazing out there. Crowds or no crowds it was still an amazing track to be on.”

Andrew Butchart (handicap -7.1) proved his Olympic pedigree, staying with the leading group in the quicker of the two men’s 5000m heats to reach the Friday’s final after closing with a  2:30 final kilometre to finish in 13:31.23.

“The second heat is always nice because you can see what you need to do, and how well the first heat did,” said Butchart, who finished sixth at Rio 2016. “It is a bit of an advantage and I think we took that.”

Marc Scott (handicap -7.4) missed out on the final by a whisker in the second half of his distance double.

The 27-year-old, who finished 14th in the 10km final, was prominent through the first 2km but faded to clock 13:39.61.

“I do believe I belong here, and I think I displayed that tonight,” he said. “The 10,000m didn’t quite go my way but I’m pleased with my race tonight.”

Full track and field report from British Athletics here

Results here