Keely Hodgkinson takes silver in thrilling women’s 800m final

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Photo credit: Ezra Shaw
Photo credit: Ezra Shaw

Keely Hodgkinson won 800m silver at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, missing out on a gold medal by the narrowest of margins.

The 20-year-old was locked in battle with her US rival and Olympic Champion Athing Mu, who took the win in 1:56:30, with Hodgkinson just 0:08 seconds behind her in 1:56:38. Kenya’s Mary Moraa completed in the podium in 1:56:71.

As soon as the starting gun fired, Hodgkinson fought to get herself to the front, where she positioned herself alongside main race contenders Mu, Moraa and Ethopia’s Diribe Welteji, who was leading at the bell. That's when Mu – who won gold in the 800m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – maid her move.

As they approached the home straight, Mu upped the pace to open up a significant gap, leaving Hodgkinson to chase her down.

Mu came round the final bend on the outside, leaving enough space for Hodgkinson to take a gap on the inside lane during the final 100m straight, where she jostled with Mu for the gold medal, but Hodgkinson couldn’t quite come level with her.

In a post-race interview with the BBC, a clearly deflated Hodgkinson said she was ‘gutted’ to have missed out on the win. She said:

‘I gave it everything – so close – but it’s a lot closer than I was last year, so I’m grateful to be on a world podium at a world final, healthy and able to fight all the way.

‘But I am a bit gutted, and to say I’m gutted with a world medal shows how far I’ve come, but I’ve got more to work on and I’ve got World Champs next year so I can’t dwell too much.’

Elsewhere in the competition, GB’s 4x400m women’s relay team took a bronze medal in the final, as did GB’s 4x100m men’s relay team in their final.

On Saturday, Matt Hudson-Smith also secured a bronze medal in the men’s 400m – his first-ever global medal.

He revealed after that he had been suffering with severe mental health issues last year, after an exceptionally tough period which saw him battling injury and lose sponsorship, accruing significant debt as a result.

The 27-year-old ran a spectacular race on Saturday, to claim bronze in 44.66 seconds. Afterwards he told the BBC: 'For the whole year, my coach has been saying "the race is lost in the last 20 metres". In the semis, I looked to my right and I lost my momentum. So in the finals, I was like "don't look at the clock, don't do anything". So I was just looking forward.

'It was an anxious wait and then I saw my name and I just dropped to the floor because these three years have been absolute hell.'

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